The Story of 90 West Street

 

Main Page               Damaged Buildings Outside WTC Complex

 

Hello everybody.

I am a building called 90 West Street. I am located very close to Ground Zero and the late twin towers, as you can see from this photo, I'm that 23 storey light colored building second from the right:

 

I am one of three major Downtown NYC office buildings designed by Cass Gilbert. I was built in 1905-07 for the West Street Improvement Corporation, a partnership headed by Howard Carroll. 

                    Cass Gilbert

In 1998, my exterior was designated an architectural landmark by the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission.

I write here because some people claim, that only buildings belonging to the WTC complex had fires in them on 9/11. And because some people wonder why I didn't collapse, but WTC 7 did.

Early in the morning of 9/11 I was hit by falling flaming debris from the south tower of WTC. Fires set by the south tower's debris gutted the 2nd, 3rd, 10th and 23rd floors, and much of the northern portions of the 4th, 5th, 8th and 21st floors. A plummeting javelin of steel demolished the kitchen at the Morton's of Chicago steakhouse on the ground floor, at the corner of Albany and West Streets, which once had the highest revenues of any of the chain's restaurants. The battered copper sheets of the sloping mansard roof - pierced, pitted and dented by hurtling projectile debris - were peeled back as if by a giant with a can opener. On the rooftop, the decorative copper balustrade was melted and twisted.

Some of the damage can be seen in these photos:

  

  

  

 

An executive secretary died in the building when she was trapped in an elevator there after the attack, and another office worker is believed to have perished with her. Recovery crews searching the roof, scaffolding and gutter pipes discovered large sections of one of the hijacked airplanes, and fragments of remains believed to have been those of people in the planes and the towers.

But I didn't collapse. Why? Because, two stand-out elements of Gilbert's design schemes included handcrafted, interlocking terra-cotta bricks between floors and marble-and-steel stairwells -- both fireproofing measures. The events of September 11, 2001, revealed that they work even in extreme circumstances.

Another reason I withstood the blow of the collapsed towers was the reinforced steel and massive, solid-granite base, which suffered dents and chips, but nothing that threatened my foundation.

This analysis offers some comparison between myself and WTC 7:

 


Today, I have been renovated and recostructed. I was reopened in the spring of 2005 and the former offices were converted to 410 state-of-the-art apartments. Inside, the restored Gothic-arched ceiling and carved-stone pillars welcome tenants, who will have access to a garden courtyard, gym, recreation room, and all the modern amenities -- from central air and heating to high-speed Internet access and a large underground garage. I am still 1907 on the outside, but modern on the inside.

There were fires on other buildings than those belonging to the WTC complex. People perished in buildings other than those belonging to the WTC complex. We should remember that. Buildings other than those of WTC were severely damaged. I was one of them.

Thanks for listening to a story many have missed.


Information about 90 West Street and related issues:

http://www.emporis.com/en/wm/bu/?id=90weststreet-newyorkcity-ny-usa
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990DE1DF113FF936A35750C0A9629C8B63
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C00E4DF1F3DF937A35751C1A9679C8B63
http://www.lowermanhattan.info/news/beauty__strength_in_75703.aspx
http://www.90weststreet.com/
http://mceer.buffalo.edu/publications/wtc/02-SP02Screen.pdf
http://www.cement.org/masonry/pp_fire_towers.asp
http://www.fema.gov/pdf/library/fema403_ch7.pdf