Posts Tagged ‘building the World Trade Center’

Gazing at the Twin Towers from the Staten Island Ferry in the 1970s

September 6, 2021

It’s easy to understand why these ferry riders were so captivated by the Twin Towers, which were almost completely built at the edge of Lower Manhattan when they took this trip crossing New York Harbor. (No antenna yet on the roof of the North Tower; that would come in 1978.)

This photo, by Morris Huberland and part of the Morris Huberland Collection in the NYPL Digital Collection, must have been taken in the early 1970s.

It’s quiet and contemplative, reflecting the tone many New Yorkers will take on this week as the 20th anniversary of 9/11 approaches.

The Mohawk Indians who put up the city skyline

March 10, 2010

The Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, the Chrysler Building, the George Washington Bridge—the most iconic structures of New York’s skyline were built in part by Mohawk ironworkers.

They arrived in the city from upstate and Canada in the late 1800s to take on some of the most dangerous jobs in construction, working hundreds of feet in the air putting up frames for skyscrapers and bridges. 

They kept coming as the city grew vertically, with about 800 settling off Flatbush Avenue in downtown Brooklyn and Bay Ridge, according to a 1957 New York Times article.

Mohawk ironworkers continued to work the skyline. They helped build (and cart away) the World Trade Center; more recently they moved steel at the Time Warner Center.

As for the myth that they they had no fear of heights, the Indians interviewed in the Times piece shot that down.

In the mid-1880s, they explained, their fathers and grandfathers were hired to build a steel bridge near a reservation upstate. They earned a rep as skilled workers, then came to New York to ply their trade during the 20th century building boom.

The above photo, from 1971, comes from a recent Smithsonian exhibit.