Twin Towers: The Life of New York City's World Trade Center

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Overview

The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center are more than office buildings. They are symbols of America, just as the Eiffel Tower and Big Ben represent their countries. Completed in 1976, these edifices are still the tallest man-made structures in New York City. Adorned with fountains and sculptures, the complex rises like Emerald City from what was once a dilapidated area of half-abandoned stores.

What went on before ground was even broken is a fascinating story in itself. Angus Gillespie recounts the political maneuvering necessary for the co-sponsor, the State of New Jersey, to agree to situate the project across the river in New York. Deftly presenting portraits of the men responsible for mooring the World Trade Center at its present location, he provides ample evidence that the backers were "second to none in self-promotion." Twin Towers also demonstrates how engineers prepared the site and solved complex problems (wind patterns, elevator placement, ground-water complications) in order to erect the towers, each with 110 stories. And Gillespie discusses the contrast between the architectural community's almost universal disdain for the tower's design and the public's enthusiastic acceptance of the buildings as a symbol of New York.

It is the people who give this complex life, purpose, and vibrancy, folklorist Gillespie points out. Through numerous first-hand interviews conducted with the people who daily work there, Twin Towers portrays the world of bankers, shippers, freight forwarders, and traders. With skill and insight, Gillespie captures what happens during a normal twenty-four hour day in the Twin Towers, starting with early morning food deliveries and ending with the patrols of nighttime security guards.

Through numerous first-hand interviews conducted with the people who daily work there, Twin Towers portrays the world of bankers, shippers, freight forwarders, and traders. With skill and insight, Gillespie captures what happens during a normal twenty-four hour day in the Twin Towers...

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, a terrorist attack destroyed the twin towers of the World Trade Center, killing thousands and forever changing the lives of many, many more. Here is a look at the WTC and what it has meant to New York City, the United States, and the world over the years since it was completed in 1971. Angus Kress Gillespie documents the preliminary debates over whether the towers should be built, the amazing feats of engineering needed to construct them, and the many ways in which they were a symbol for people everywhere. Indeed, they will continue to be a symbol -- of the perseverance and strength of the American public.
Charles R. Morris
...it offers a facinating section on the engineering challenges overcome by Yamasaki and the Port Authority project managers - the ingenious steel-and-concrete walls that allowed the foundations to be sunk in the middle of a major river; the 23 acres of new city land built from the excavations; the novel exterior supports to withstand the enormous wind shears.
The Wall Street Journal
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451206848
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 8/1/2002
  • Edition description: REVISED
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

Angus Kress Gillespie is an associate professor of American Studies at Rutgers University. He is co-author of Looking for America on the New Jersey Turnpike (Rutgers University Press) and other books and articles on American culture.
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Table of Contents

Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction 3
1 Political Background: The Uneasy Alliance between New York and New Jersey 16
2 It Can't be Done: Overcoming Obstacles in Building Tall Towers 54
3 Erecting the Towers: It's One Story After Another 86
4 Winning Acceptance: How a White Elephant Became Prime Real Estate 124
5 Architecture: Beloved By All Except the Experts 160
6 The World Trade Center Concept: Not Just Another Office Building 180
7 A City Within a City: or, A Day in the Life ... 202
Notes 235
Index 255
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