The original World Trade Center was a complex with seven buildings featuring landmark twin towers in Lower Manhattan, New York City, United States. The complex opened on April 4, 1973, and was destroyed in 2001 in the September 11 attacks. The site is being rebuilt with five new skyscrapers and a memorial to the casualties of the attacks. As of November 2011, only one skyscraper has been completed; the other four are expected to be completed before 2020. One World Trade Center will be the lead building for the new complex, reaching more than 100 stories at its completion. It became the tallest building in New York City on April 30, 2012, and is expected to be finished by 2013. A sixth tower is awaiting confirmation.
At the time of their completion, the original 1 World Trade Center (the North Tower) and 2 World Trade Center (the South Tower), known collectively as the Twin Towers, were thetallest buildings in the world. The other buildings included 3 WTC (the Marriott World Trade Center), 4 WTC, 5 WTC, 6 WTC (which housed United States Customs), and 7 WTC. All of these buildings were built between 1975 and 1985.
The complex was designed in the early 1960s by Minoru Yamasaki and Associates of Troy, Michigan, and Emery Roth and Sons of New York. The twin 110-story towers used a tube-frame structural design. To gain approval for the project, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey agreed to take over the Hudson & Manhattan Railroad, which became the Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH). Groundbreaking for the World Trade Center took place onAugust 5, 1966. The North Tower was completed in December 1972 and the South Tower was finished in July 1973. The construction project involved excavating a large amount of material, which was later used as landfill to build Battery Park City on the west side of Lower Manhattan. The cost for the construction was $400 million ($2,300,000,000 in 2012 dollars).The complex was located in the heart of New York City's downtown financial district and contained 13.4 million square feet (1.24 million m2) of office space.
The Windows on the World restaurant was located on the 106th and 107th floors of 1 World Trade Center (the North Tower) while the Top of the World observation deck was located on the 107th floor of 2 World Trade Center (the South Tower). The second King Kong film was filmed in 1976 with some scenes mentioning and showing the World Trade Center.
The World Trade Center experienced a fire on February 13, 1975, and a bombing onFebruary 26, 1993. In 1998, the Port Authority decided to privatize the World Trade Center, leasing the buildings to a private company to manage, and awarded the lease to Silverstein Properties in July 2001.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, Al-Qaeda-affiliated hijackers flew two Boeing 767 jets into the complex, one into each tower, in a coordinated terrorist attack. After burning for 56 minutes, the South Tower (2) collapsed, followed a half-hour later by the North Tower (1), with the attacks on the World Trade Center resulting in 2,753 deaths. 7 World Trade Center collapsed later in the day and the other buildings, although they did not collapse, had to be demolished because they were damaged beyond repair. The process of cleanup and recovery at the World Trade Center site took eight months. The first new building at the site was 7 World Trade Center, which opened in May 2006. The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), established in November 2001 to oversee the rebuilding process, organized competitions to select a site plan and memorial design. Memory Foundations, designed by Daniel Libeskind, was selected as the master plan, but this went through substantial changes in design. The new World Trade Center complex will include One World Trade Center, three other high-rise office towers, and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.
On September 11, 2001, terrorists hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 and crashed it into the northern façade of the north tower at 8:46 a.m., the aircraft striking between the 93rd and 99th floors. Seventeen minutes later, at 9:03 a.m., a second team of terrorists crashed the similarly hijacked United Airlines Flight 175 into the south tower, striking it between the 77th and 85th floors. The damage caused to the north tower by Flight 11 destroyed any means of escape from above the impact zone, trapping 1,344 people. Flight 175 had a much more off-centered impact compared to Flight 11, and a single stairwell was left intact; however, only a few people managed to pass through it successfully before the tower collapsed. Although the south tower was struck lower than the north tower, thus affecting more floors, a smaller number, fewer than 700, were killed instantly or trapped.
At 9:59 a.m., the South Tower collapsed after burning for approximately 56 minutes. The fire caused steel structural elements, already weakened from the plane impact, to fail. The north tower collapsed at 10:28 a.m., after burning for approximately 102 minutes. At 5:20 p.m. onSeptember 11, 2001, 7 World Trade Center started to collapse with the crumble of the east penthouse, and it collapsed completely at 5:21 p.m. owing to uncontrolled fires causing structural failure. This account of the collapse's cause was disputed by proponents of World Trade Center controlled demolition conspiracy theories.
The 3 World Trade Center, a Marriott hotel, was destroyed during the collapse of the two towers. The three remaining buildings in the WTC plaza sustained heavy damage from debris and were ultimately demolished. The Deutsche Bank Building across Liberty Street from the World Trade Center complex was later condemned owing to the uninhabitable toxic conditions inside; it was deconstructed, with work completed in early 2011. The Borough of Manhattan Community College's Fiterman Hall at 30 West Broadway was also condemned owing to extensive damage in the attacks and is slated for deconstruction.
In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, media reports suggested that tens of thousands might have been killed in the attacks, as on any given day over 50,000 people could be inside the towers. Ultimately, 2,753 death certificates (excluding those for hijackers) were filed relating to the 9/11 attacks, including one filed for Felicia Dunn-Jones, who was added to the official death toll inMay 2007; Dunn-Jones died five months later from a lung condition linked to exposure to dust during the collapse of the World Trade Center. Three other victims were then added to the official death toll by the city medical examiner's office: Dr. Sneha Anne Philip, who was last seen the day before the attacks; Leon Heyward, a man who developed lymphoma and subsequently died in 2008 as a result of dust ingestion during the events following the attacks to the Twin Towers; and Jerry Borg, who died in December 2010 of pulmonary sarcoidosis determined in June 2011 to be the result of dust from the attacks. Cantor Fitzgerald L.P., an investment bank on the 101st–105th floors of One World Trade Center, lost 658 employees, considerably more than any other employer, while Marsh & McLennan Companies, located immediately below Cantor Fitzgerald on floors 93–101 (the location of Flight 11's impact), lost 295 employees, and 175 employees of Aon Corporationwere killed. In addition, 343 of the dead were New York City firefighters, 84 were Port Authority employees, of whom 37 were members of the Port Authority Police Department, and another 23 were New York City Police Department officers. Ten years after the attacks, only 1,629 victims have been positively identified. Of all the people who were still in the towers when they collapsed, only 20 were pulled out alive. PAPD Officers William Jimeno and Sgt. John McLoughlin were survivors 18 and 19.