The World Trade Center: Completion and Opening in New York City

The World Trade Center

The World Trade Center, a complex of iconic buildings in New York City, was completed and opened in 1973. It became a symbol of global commerce and a prominent feature of the city’s skyline until its tragic destruction in 2001.

The idea for the World Trade Center emerged in the late 1950s to promote international trade and revitalize Lower Manhattan. The project was developed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, led by David Rockefeller, the chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank, and his brother, New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller. Renowned architect Minoru Yamasaki was selected to design the complex, including seven buildings, with the Twin Towers, 1 World Trade Center (North Tower), and 2 World Trade Center (South Tower), as its centerpiece.

Construction of the World Trade Center began in 1966, with the excavation of the site, known as the “bathtub,” which required the removal of more than 1.2 million cubic yards of soil and rock. The innovative design of the Twin Towers featured a “tube-within-a-tube” structural system, which allowed for large, open floor plans and increased structural stability.

The North Tower was completed and opened in December 1970, while the South Tower was finished and opened in January 1972. The complex’s official ribbon-cutting ceremony took place on April 4, 1973. At the time of their completion, the Twin Towers were the tallest buildings in the world, standing at 1,368 feet (North Tower) and 1,362 feet (South Tower), with each tower having 110 stories.

The World Trade Center became a hub for international commerce, housing numerous offices, businesses, and organizations, an observation deck, and the Windows on the World restaurant. The complex was tragically destroyed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, which claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 people. In the years following the attacks, a new World Trade Center complex was constructed, including the One World Trade Center, which stands as a symbol of resilience and a tribute to those who lost their lives in the tragedy.