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Tridents inside the 9/11 Museum from the original World Trade Center towers

The 9/11 Museum, thirteen years in the making, is opening today ceremonially with President Obama and becomes publicly accessible starting next Wednesday. The museum is set deep below the 9/11 Memorial, its 7 stories containing 10,000 artifacts. The New York Times has some great interactive pieces on the museum, like a guided tour and this architectural/curatorial review.

We’ll save our thoughts until our visit next Wednesday but for now, here are images of the museum we took while it was under construction taken from our behind-the-scenes visits of construction of the World Trade Center complex, including 1 WTC, 4 WTC, and the Calatrava transit hub.


Untapped Cities-NYC-Memorial-Rafe Greco-Sculpture-Iron-9/11-WTC-Twin Towers-SkylineRafe Greco’s 9/11 Memorial Sculpture (Instagram photo via g1g1_NYC)

Rafe Greco, an NYC iron-worker using only a cutting torch, created a sculpture that reunites the Twin Towers with the New York City skyline. The four inch thick sculpture – using iron from the fallen towers –  is among the permanent collection of photos, artifacts, personal effects, memorabilia, art tributes and more shown at the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum preview site(more…)

World Trade Center-1971-under-construction financial district new york untapped cities samantha sokolWorld Trade Center under construction in 1970.
Image via Wikimedia Commons user Pat Bianculli

On December 23rd, 1970, the last bit of steel was placed on top of the North Tower of One World Trade Center. This piece of steel completed the tower at 1353 feet tall, the tallest building in the world for three years before the completion of the Willis (formerly Sears) tower in 1973.

WTC 1 was in fact declared the tallest building in the world that October, before construction was completed. At that time, the building stood at 102 stories high and 1254 feet above street level. It surpassed the Empire State Building by four feet. See the news, reported by the New York Timeshere(more…)

View-1 WTC-World Trade Center-Top-NYC-2The elevator’s see-through floor looks like the metal grate on the right of the photo

Untapped Cities reader Drew Thompson shared with us his photographs from the 102nd floor of 1 WTC construction and told us this crazy detail about the exterior hoist elevator: “It’s just a see through floor on the hoist made of metal and plywood…” He also has a short Instagram video he took from the top of the hoist elevator coming down. We asked him if he took any images of the floor and he said “NO WAY! There was no way in hell I was looking down.”


Manhattan Fruit-Bodega-678 Manhattan Avenue-Greenpoint-Brooklyn-NYC-Twin Towers-WTC Logo

More than a decade after 9/11, some businesses in New York City have chosen to keep their Twin Towers-inspired logos. We spotted Manhattan Fruit in Greenpoint, whose “H” in Manhattan references the Twin Towers and the “A” the Empire State Building. Similarly, those Manhattan Mini Storage ads are all over the city but you’ve probably been paying more attention to their funny slogans. The company has also chosen to keep the Twin Towers in its logo:


Editor’s note: NYC-based architect Bhushan Mondkar, formerly at Studio Daniel Libeskind, the firm responsible for the master plan for the World Trade Center Site, reflects on construction of 4 WTC over the past five years with his accompanying photographs.

4WTC-NYC-Untapped Cities-Bhushan Mondkar
After being chosen to redesign the World Trade Center site in February 2003, architect Daniel Libeskind declared, “Soon, the Lower Manhattan skyline will be home once again to towering skyscrapers. At a resonant 1776 feet tall, the Freedom Tower, second in importance only to the 9/11 memorial itself — will rise above its predecessors, reasserting the preeminence of freedom and beauty, restoring the spiritual peak to the city and proclaiming America’s resilience even in the face of profound danger, of our optimism even in the aftermath of tragedy. Life, victorious.”