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World Trade Center Construction, Facts & Figures

Frank Greening's Concrete Calculation
The floors in the core areas were made of normal weight concrete, density 1760 kg/m3
The floors in the office areas were made of lightweight concrete, density 1500 kg/m3
Volume of 5-inch normal weight concrete per floor = 109.5 m3
Weight of normal weight concrete per floor = 193 tonnes
Volume of 4-inch thick lightweight concrete per floor = 289.4 m3
Weight of lightweight concrete per floor = 434 tonnes

Otis Elevator at the WTC

Elevator details

From "World Trade Center Makes a Vertical World of Its Own" NYT, February, 2001  ... Life in the subgrade can be substandard. For the vertical commuters above, there are 190 elevators that can travel 27 feet per second. The express system, in which elevators are dedicated to certain floors, was invented for the towers and inspired by the subway. But the freight elevators down below are a different story. The wait can be as long as an hour.

For that frustration, the remedy is Jimmy Stoker.

In his nearly 30 years as a freight elevator operator here, Mr. Stoker has worn nine uniforms, issued by nine bosses. On this day, his bow tie has been diffidently stuffed into his breast pocket. Asked to talk about the World Trade Center, he was ready with his answer: "We're wondering why we can't get a raise in salary here. I got three wives to support!" His easy retorts are the subgrade's rhythm track, an antidote to eight-hour days in a small room with no view. "Going up?" he was asked. "Take a ride, brother," he said.

"My bonus come through or just a raise?" Mr. Stoker asked a passenger. "Sir, when you address me, you address me as Mr. Stoker," he told another.

Mr. Stoker leaves Staten Island for work at nearly 5 a.m. and returns home by nearly 5 p.m., and his preternaturally pink skin tells of days on end without the sun. He has been to the observation deck, he said, exactly four times. "This is Gollum here," said one man riding up with a bale of paper towels. "Remember that character from `Lord of the Rings?' "

WTC Security

WTC security Jan. 2001 (includes fiber optics, emergency power, ID system, command centers)

Welcome. Got Your ID? From "World Trade Center Makes a Vertical World of Its Own" NYT, February, 2001

Perhaps nothing epitomizes what the World Trade Center has become since the bombing more than the visitors desks in its lobbies. That is where 5,000 people wait in line each day to be entered into a computer, photographed and given the plastic ID card that will allow them to enter the elevators. Everyone must be considered a security risk, yet treated with concierge cool.

That is why many of those who work the desk have experience in what is called the hospitality industry. But Vicente Ramos, who worked the line last week, is not one of the hotel-trained. He is a natural. His hair has the wavy luster of Leonardo DiCaprio's, his face the roughened skin of a character actor, a career he is pursuing with some success. Speaking with precisely trained $2,300 diction that occasionally thickens into the accent of East Harlem, Mr. Ramos, 48, made light of the time-consuming security process. "Did everybody bring their parents' permission slip?" he asked the waiting crowd, to grudging laughter. "Is anyone chewing gum on line?"

To Mr. Ramos, the World Trade Center is a place to gather material. "I watch the way they walk, the way they talk, their peculiarities," he said. "As a day gig, you could do a lot worse."

There is a lot to be learned about human nature at the visitors desk. On Monday morning, extra workers are assigned, because that is when the 55,000 people who carry permanent access badges are most likely to have left them at home. After 6 p.m., an escort is required for the badgeless to enter. People who have worked in the building for 12 years come down for a cigarette, leave their badges upstairs, and complain bitterly because they can't get back in. The idea that perhaps they might have learned the rules after so much time is apparently lost on them.

"That's a mystery, even to us," said Danny Rodriguez, who works the evening shift and finds room within the airtight regulations for a coded familiarity. At 8:20, 10 minutes before closing, one last, hefty messenger appeared to make his nightly delivery. Following procedure, Mr. Rodriguez dialed up for authorization and said, as he does every night: "Hello. The belly dancer is here."

WTC 1980 TV commercial for observation deck