Tales From The Towers

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This holiday weekend, we're exploring a special place that's come to represent an enduring symbol of patriotism and freedom in American culture: The World Trade Center.
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 Happy 4th of July from The Takeaway! This holiday weekend, we're exploring a special place that's come to represent an enduring symbol of patriotism and freedom in American culture: The World Trade Center.

In this special hour-long program, Takeaway Host John Hockenberry visits the patriotic hub that is part memorial, part transportation center, part monument, and part symbol of industrial might.

Though the World Trade Center site conjures painful memories of a day steeped in infamy, the site has also come to represent the promising future of a strong America.  In "Tales From The Towers," we will meet the workers, engineers, artists, and tourists who have worked to both restore the World Trade Center and preserve its legacy.

First we hear from Steve Plate, deputy chief of capital planning and director of the WTC Construction Department at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. He helped manage the World Trade Center revival. 

"It's so rich with patriotism and the goodness of humankind," Plate says. "You look at the site and where it was and where it is today—it shows the world's ability and peoples' ability to rebuild, to be resilient, remember, and just come back better than ever."

The new World Trade Center is a 16 acre mixed-used spaced composed of five iconic office towers, an 8-acre Memorial Plaza, and over half a million square feet of shopping and dining. The Transportation Hub makes it one of the most convenient places to access in the city.

Rebuilding this sprawling site wouldn't have been possible without New York's architects, developers, and construction workers. In this Independence Day special, Frank Hussey, construction superintendent for Tower 3, and Estelle St. Clair, a carpenter with Local 157 who has worked in Tower 4 and at the site's transportation station, explain what it was like to rebuild a part of American history.

Though the World Trade Center site now inspires hope, it wasn't always that way. Dara McQuillan, chief marketing and communications officer for Silverstein Properties, the leaseholder for the WTC site during the attacks of September 11th, says the developers are very passionate about revitalizing the area.

Gerald Lam just moved into his brand new offices in Tower 4. He works in marketing and communications for the financial trading startup IEX. As he tells The Takeaway's John Hockenberry, IEX is building a financial exchange that Lam hopes will compete directly with the legends of Wall Street.

On the 66th floor of Tower 4, a grand piano sits in a raw space without ceilings. Marcus Robinson, an artist and filmmaker, has been given permission to document the reconstruction of the World Trade Center in paintings, photographs, and sound. He joins The Takeaway to perform the music of the towers, and to weigh in on his remarkable timelapse photography project, "Rebuilding the World Trade Center."

The Takeaway’s resilience reporting is supported by The Rockefeller Foundation. To learn more, visit rockfound.org. Check out some photos from The Takeaway's trip to the Towers below.