Twin Legacies: The World Trade Center and Manhattan’s Development

Twin Legacies: The World Trade Center and Manhattan’s Development

Twin Legacies: The World Trade Center and Manhattan’s Development

The World Trade Center paved over a patchwork of industrial docks and community businesses to become a planned community catering to high finance.


"Now that the [9/11] memorial has opened to the public," Alyssa Katz writes in her article in this week’s issue of The Nation, Proving Grounds, "the transformation of the zone from a spectacular but also stubbornly mundane place to do business into a shrine to Muslim-battling martyrs is complete." But we shouldn’t forget the ambivalence that surrounded the buildings, she argues—or the controversial way in which they were brought into being. The World Trade Center and Battery Park were built in the nineteen-sixties over a patchwork of landfill, industrial docks and the ruins of Radio Row, a working class network of mom-and-pop businesses. The project went forward with the help of public funds and the dubious application of eminent domain to become a planned community catering to high finance. 

In this video produced by The Nation‘s Francis Reynolds, Katz, editor of the New York World, an accountability journalism project based at Columbia Journalism School, provides some historical background for the World Trade Center site and the example it set for the evolution of Lower Manhattan and the city as a whole.

—Teresa Cotsirilos

Thank you for reading The Nation!

We hope you enjoyed the story you just read, just one of the many incisive, deeply reported articles we publish daily. Now more than ever, we need fearless journalism that moves the needle on important issues, uncovers malfeasance and corruption, and uplifts voices and perspectives that often go unheard in mainstream media.

Donate right now and help us hold the powerful accountable, shine a light on issues that would otherwise be swept under the rug, and build a more just and equitable future.

For nearly 160 years, The Nation has stood for truth, justice, and moral clarity. As a reader-supported publication, we are not beholden to the whims of advertisers or a corporate owner. But it does take financial resources to report on stories that may take weeks or months to investigate, thoroughly edit and fact-check articles, and get our stories to readers like you.

Donate today and stand with us for a better future. Thank you for being a supporter of independent journalism.

Thank you for your generosity.

Ad Policy