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A first attack in 1993, breathtaking views of New York, ordinary life until September 10, 2001: on TikTok and Instagram, an account posted videos of the World Trade Center, before it was destroyed. These images taken from reports, advertisements or amateur recordings aim to maintain the memory of the Twin Towers, symbol of the triumphant American economy. Another way to commemorate September 11, the 20th anniversary of the attacks.
Launched at the end of December 2020 on TikTok, the account “footage_of_the_wtc” (or “images of the World Trade Center”) has published more than 150 videos, shot between 1970 and September 2001, around and inside the Twin Towers. They collect comments from Internet users who testify, in all languages, of their emotions or recount their own memories.
One of the oldest videos shows the construction of the complex, in 1970:
Inaugurated in 1973, the World Trade Center inspired the following year the tightrope walker Philippe Petit, who linked the two towers on a wire on August 7, 1974. An illegal crossing which had a strong impact.
In 1984, this video shows an aerial view of the two towers, 515 and 517 meters high, and their 110 floors.
This other video, dating from 1987, gives an overview of the complex seen from the ground. We also see the sculpture “The Sphere” by Fritz Koenig, supposed to symbolize world peace through trade. It will be recovered from the rubble of the twin towers after the attacks.
On February 26, 1993, the World Trade Center was the scene of a first attack: a truck exploded in a parking lot, killing 6 and injuring 1,042. This video posted by footage_of_the_wtc documents the moments after the explosion.
On YouTube, the channel “Nathan9104”, which presents itself as dedicated to architecture, publishes, among other things, a number of videos of life in the World Trade Center. Like this one, shot in 1994 in the World Trade Center 7 building, adjacent to the twin towers and destroyed on September 11, 2001. It shows employees at work, then a kitchen in the complex.
Several videos have been taken by tourists climbing to the top of the South Tower to admire the view of New York, like this one:
“I wanted to show how simple and yet awesome it was”
The founder of the account, who introduces himself as “Archie” and says he works “in construction”, wishes to remain anonymous. He explains to the editorial staff of the Observers:
“My goal is to show these videos to people, so that they can see what the towers were like originally. I love the complex that was the World Trade Center and wanted to show what a simple yet awesome place it was.
I collect these videos thanks to friends who send them to me, or I find them on YouTube, or on other sites, I search on a lot of different sites. One of my favorites is the video of the Marriott hotel, we can see the interior which is very beautiful. “
The video in question was shot three days before the attacks. The 22-story Marriott hotel was located below the two towers to which it was connected.
On September 10, 2001, this video shows the World Trade Center less than 24 hours before it collapsed.
The footage_of_the_wtc account also gives pride of place to amateur videos from September 11, 2001. A rare video shows, for example, rescuers in the North Tower as the South Tower collapses.
And on this one, it is possible to see the collapse of the South Tower from another angle.
This video testifies to the tributes paid on September 12, 2001 by New Yorkers.