Monday, 25 March 2013


jumping off the WTC tower...

Dear Lulu,

today I found the wonderful image of you with the WTC in the backgroud. The picture is really beautiful!!! - so I have to contact you immediately to ask you whether you'd like to participate in our project: three years ago we - Robert Ziegler and Stefka Ammon - started working on our private project MY_WTC. 

It is our goal to explore the question of the site' s myth via (mostly) tourists' photographs of the World Trade Center in New York City (August 5th 1966 - September 10th 2001). Also we would like to find out why so many people took pictures of themselves in front, on top of, inside or next to the WTC. Our project is about exploring the "specific aura" of the World Trade Center from the angle of tourists from all over the world.

On our photo-blog you can see pictures submitted from many places and, this is important to us too, you can also comment on pictures with your memories and associations. We hope to create a vivid exchange. We would be very happy if we arouse your interest with our MY_WTC project. It would really be wonderful if you also submit your great picture! Maybe even with some comments or descriptions (year, reason for photograph...)

In any case we are very much looking forward to hearing from you! Best greetings from sunny Berlin, Germany
Best Robert and Stefka

A December 1970 photo of the Twin Towers shows construction was at a break-neck pace. A year later both towers were complete, even though the buildings were officially opened in 1973.
21st February 1971. 
Spring 1971
Yoko Ono & John Lennon and the WTC Twin Towers in 1971.

Al Pacino in 'Serpico' directed by Sidney Lumet, 1973.

Dear Robert & Stefka,

thank you for the invitation to express myself about  the Twin Towers.

Yes, you can use the photo from my blog. Unfortunately it is the only one I've got with the towers on the back ground and it is not a good quality picture.

That photo was taken by my friend Damazio Nazare on a very cold Saturday morning in February 1972.

You see, I’m Brazilian and migrated to the US in October 1971. Even before I went to live in the Tri-State-Area I knew that the Empire State was no longer the tallest building in the world. It had already been surpassed by the Twin Towers in the Lower Manhattan tip.

I've always been an admirer of tall buildings and it was only natural that I would be interested in knowing about the World Trade Center twin wonders.

I remember so well the first time I beheld the Towers from Newark, NJ. It was a cold Autumn morning in 1971 and the sky was clear as crystal. I remember distinctly well the blue tarpaulins on top of the Northern Tower. Both Towers were already done even if the buildings themselves were not open to public visitation yet. WTC would only be officially open only in 1973. 

I guess a love affair between Myself and the Twin Towers started when I took that first look at them from far-away Newark, NJ. How could I resist not falling in love with such beautiful and immense structures? They were so straight! They were so identical! They had such a marvelous metallic colour! And they were the tallest in the world. That topped everything! I didn't know then that the Twin Towers were built and owned by the states of New York and New Jersey... actually The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the same company that owned the Bus Terminal on 8th Avenue and 41st Street which played such an important role in my life too.

I arrived in the USA on a Saturdady, 2nd October 1971, went to the Bus Terminal and took a bus to Newark, NJ. The following day I took a bus back to Manhattan, walked to 34th Street and visited the Empire State Building. That was like a mission! That was the first thing I ever did as soon as I had a chance. But strangely enough I never went up the Twin Towers.

I lived in Newark, NJ from 1971 to 1973. I used to take the PATH [Port Authority Trans-Hudson]trains to go to Manhattan. As you know one could go either to the 33rd Street Station in mid-Manhattan or downtown to the World Trade Center station deep under the bowels of the Twin Towers. I took the PATH trains and alighted at the WTC station many a time but due to the Towers not having been opened yet I never had the chance to go up to the top. I had to come back to Brazil in early 1973 just before the WTC was officially opened.

I went back to the Tri-State-Area many a time after that, but never had the chance to make that dream come true. Never went up to the top.

Last time I was in the NYC area was in the summer of 2001. As usual I stayed in Newark, NJ with a Brazilian friend who had migrated to the US in the early 70s. He had a small business on Ferry Street needed a permit from the US authorities to import Brazilian merchandise for his shop. He asked me to go to the WTC with him to get those permits... and that was the only time I went inside one of the Towers. The office we went to was on a very low floor one so I did not have that 'feeling' I was in a 'special' place.

Then, on June 10, 2001 I had to take my plane back to Brazil. The last time I was near the Towers I did something 'funny'. I went really close to one of them, stationed myself exactly on the south-west corner, leaned against it and looked up all the way to the top and stayed in that position for a few moments. I felt good to look up at such a straight line that took me almost to 'heavens', such a clean metallic feel. It is one of those moments that one never forgets. Thank God New Yorkers don’t have the time or inclination to watch what goes on around them otherwise someone could think my attitude was ‘peculiar’.

One might say I am fantasizing about something in retrospect but that's not true.  Even if Osama Bin Laden had not destroyed them I would still cherish those moments I had with those structures. They had been part of my own story as a migrant. I could say I grew with the them. I naturally thought they would out-last me for a few centuries but that was not supposed to be.

In the morning of September 11, 2001 I was home in São Paulo, Brazil. I remember it was a cloudy morning and I was probably reading when my younger brother who was watching TV shouted something like there was a building on fire in New York. I was curious about which building was on flames and turned my TV on. One of the Twin Towers was mysteriously on fire. Then the 2nd Tower was on fire too and later on we had the experience to watch the greatest show on earth happening before our own eyes. Not even Hollywood could have done something on that magnitude. I could hardly believe what I was watching. I could hardly believe I had just been ‘hugging’ one of the Towers just 8 weeks before.

Lulu Maximus, 31st May 2012. 

No-safety net... 1974 
cops couldn't do much but yell at the Frenchman... 

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