Friday, June 10, 2011

NYC Vintage Image: Destruction Of History For WTC's 'Progress,' 1967

While the destruction of the World Trade Center in September 2001 will forever mark a blemish on New York City history, I was surprised to learn that there are passionate detractors surrounding the building of the original complex in the mid-1960s, which included the demolition of 13 square blocks—some 60 acres—of low-rise buildings along the West side of lower Manhattan. The property was home to hundreds of commercial and industrial tenants, property owners, small businesses and about 100 residents.

Groundbreaking on the World Trade Center took place in August 1966, with the North Tower (1) completed in December 1972 and the South Tower (2) finished in July 1973. Other buildings in the complex included the Marriott World Trade Center, 4 WTC, 5 WTC and 6 WTC, all built between 1975 and 1981.

Thirty four years ago, Bleak Beauty's photographer recorded the demolition of the 19th Century buildings located below Chambers street in Lower Manhattan—and they do indeed appear to be a sad recollection of an entire area decimated by "progress."

On the east side of the island, near the fish market, room was made for a new ramp onto the Brooklyn Bridge and for expansion of Pace College. On the west side, the 13 blocks were demolished for the WTC. These photographs of an NYC ghost town were later published in a book, The Destruction of Lower Manhattan.