The World Trade Center Rememberedby Sonja Bullaty, Paul Goldberger
Rising dramatically above all other skyscrapers at the tip of Manhattan, the World Trade Center symbolized New York. From any direction the Towers were lodestars, Manhattan's local mountains. Nearly a decade after the dark events of 9/11, New Yorkers continue to come to terms with the tragedy, and to reminisce about the views of the Towers they once had from their… See more details below
Rising dramatically above all other skyscrapers at the tip of Manhattan, the World Trade Center symbolized New York. From any direction the Towers were lodestars, Manhattan's local mountains. Nearly a decade after the dark events of 9/11, New Yorkers continue to come to terms with the tragedy, and to reminisce about the views of the Towers they once had from their homes and offices. Visitors, too, are remembering how the WTC looked as they approached Manhattan by car, plane, or from the water. As we mourn for the terrible loss of life, we also want to remember.
The 72 images of the World Trade Center presented in this book depict a New York we once knew, one we are now working to rebuild. For more than two decades, practically since the Twin Towers were erected, Sonja Bullaty and Angelo Lomeo have been photographing these awesome buildings. The pictures featured here portray the WTC from all directions, starting with views from the east at dawn, and ending with evening views from the west. There are captivating panoramas from Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan, New Jersey, and uptown, taken in all seasons, as well as a section showing the grand Plaza at the center of the buildings. Together, they create an unforgettable portrait of the Twin Towers.
Introducing this extraordinary collection of photographs, Paul Goldberger's text evokes the Towers and the city they came to symbolize. He recalls how they evolved in the public mind, targets of criticism to beloved American icons. He explains their architectural significance and explores their visceral meaning to New Yorkers. In contrast to books depicting the disaster and the days following it, this photographic memoir will be welcomed by all of us New Yorkers and visitors alike who yearn to remember the way the city was.
A portion of the book's proceeds are donated to the Twin Towers Scholarship Program care of Scholarship America.
- Abbeville Publishing Group
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- 1 ED
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- 10.70(w) x 12.96(h) x 0.36(d)
Read an Excerpt
The World Trade Center: Rising in Sheer Exaltation
It is necessary to begin with September 11, even as we yearn to go back before that day, because everything about the World Trade Center will always be seen in the context of the cataclysmic events of that morning. Every photograph of the trade center towers, if it is not a horrific view of their destruction, is a poignant reminder of what has been lost. Every view of the towers in the soft light of dawn or the rich, deep light of evening has the urgency of real time; we know now that the sun has already moved on, and it will not come again.
Great skyscrapers do not disappear, and nothing in our experience prepares us for the void that now exists in Lower Manhattan. We describe this void, in part, as standing for the collective total of lives lost when the towers were attacked and destroyed, and of course this is true, but there is more to it than that. The void is a thing unto itself, powerful and terrifying. When it became a part of Lower Manhattan, suddenly emptiness took on more weight than fullness. The void loomed larger than the solid thing it replaced. The skyline had more magnetic power than ever before, but this time it was not the allure of the postcard view, but the horror of something ruined. Our eyes were fixed on the void not out of pleasure at the grotesque sight, but in disbelief, since before that day we had known only a skyline that grew continually bigger; it did not get smaller, and it certainly did not disintegrate.
Before September 11, the skyline functioned in the spirit of Darwinian evolution. The bigger things drove out the smaller ones. You may not have believed that the biggest buildings were truly the fittest, or that they deserved to push aside the others, but that is how things had always worked in New York, and there was no reason to believe it was going to change. Nothing ever built in the history of New York had been as tall as the towers of the World Trade Center, and there was little expectation that anything as tall as the towers would be built again. They seemed to represent a kind of culmination of the principle of survival of the fittest. They would remain, if not forever, for our lifetimes and our children’s lifetimes and their children’s lifetimes, of that we were certain. We may not have liked all of the buildings that had come to make up the skyline of New York by the year 2001, but we liked the skyline itself, and treasured it.
We experienced the skyline not as if it were made up of disparate parts that came together at random, but as a thing unto itself, definable and protectable. We did not think that the skyline was vulnerable, except to the risk that its delicate rhythms might be quashed by the presence of too many huge, boxy towers. To a lot of people the Darwinian principle behind the skyline’s form seemed like a Faustian bargainif you accepted the notion that the biggest buildings would prevail, you could continue being entranced by the skyline. As the years went on the bargain seemed more and more reasonable, since the law of the jungle was in every way the law of Manhattan. The biggest things survived, and you made a peace with that. The little buildings, the slender towers and shorter masses that once held sway over the skyline and made it such a romantic, jazzy set of rhythms, were a part of the past, and while most of them physically remained in place, their preeminence did not. That was the price you paid for the fact that the skyline was an organic thing, a living thing, that had to grow and change. As time went on there were fewer people who even remembered the skyline without the World Trade Center. To them, the skyline belonged to the tallest and there was never the slightest question what the tallest was, and so if you were young and were especially lucky, because you could never look at the New York skyline and find disappointment.
And then the strongest thing became the most fragile thing, and the whole order changed. The buildings that had symbolized the power of technology were suddenly done in by technology; the skyscrapers that had symbolized bigness and openness to the world were destroyed by the products of bigness, and by the process of openness. Of course what the towers had come to represent most of all beyond sheer size was the very idea of modernity, and everything that modernity implies: choice, transparency, possibilities, and, most of all, the fact of constant change. These things are the modern condition, and while New Yorkers did not always feel that this aspect of their city was embodied more clearly in the World Trade Center than anywhere else, a lot of the rest of the world thought it was.
It is something of a paradox that the very things that attracted tourists to the World Trade Centersbigness, swagger, the sense that they embody the very force of capitalismare the same things that led the terrorists to make the buildings their target. They all knew that the trade center’s power was in its bigness. Build the biggest thing, and you are powerful. Visit the biggest thing, and you partake of this power. Destroy the biggest thing, and you are the most powerful of all. Both the tourists and the terrorists responded to the image of the World Trade Center in the popular imagination. It did not matter to them that the towers were not particularly admired as works of architecture, or that architecture critics often felt that the bland, simple form of the trade center made them impossible to love in the way that people seemed to love buildings like the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building. It turned out not to be true that boxes couldn’t be icons. The towers were. The two tall buildings were never officially called the Twin Towers; that was a nickname, and did the Empire State Building ever have a nickname? It was conferred on the towers by people who came from elsewhere and felt drawn to their hugeness, and to what they felt was an architectural expression of the greatest self-confidence imaginable.
Meet the Author
Sonja Bullaty and Angelo Lomeo are world-renowned photographers, whose Abbeville books include Provence, Tuscany, Venice and the Veneto, and America, America. Angelo Lomeo lives in New York.
Paul Goldberger is one of the nation's most respected architecture critics. The winner of a Pulitzer Prize for his work at The New York Times, he has been the architectural critic at the New Yorker since 1997. He lives with his wife and his three sons in New York.
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This is a wonderful book that shows the World Trade Center from all views: looking north, south, east, west and from the plaza. The photos are clear and many of them are full page. Some are more recent than others and one or two are slightly grainy, but that can be easily overlooked. Angelo Lomeo and Sonja Bullaty did an excellent job of photographing the towers. Paul Goldberger wrote the text, there is also a photographer¿s dedication and a publisher's preface. Overall, a wonderful photographic tribute that would make a wonderful gift and add a touch of class to any library.