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Remembering The Twin Towers As A Fixture Of The Skyline

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[All photos © G. Alessandrini via his blog, New York in the 1990's.]

At first, our go-to documentarian of 1990s New York didn't realize that he'd amassed such an extensive collection of photos of the World Trade Center. Yet, when Gregoire Alessandrini looked back over the hundreds of slides and negatives taken during his seven-year stint as a film student in New York City, he noticed that the towers dominated the backdrop of an unexpected number of street scenes, from so many different angles. There they were, peeping through the Washington Square Park arch. Or standing tall and proud across the East River, mimicking a couple dancing on the waterfront in the foreground. Or, as so many recall, popping up like an anchor at the southernmost end of an avenue. "I always feel that something is missing in the landscape," Alessandrini says, "when I'm in the Village and I point my camera in the direction of downtown Manhattan." On this day, 12 years after the towers fell, take a look back at how the Twin Towers graced so many urban vistas.

On his moving photo collection, Alessandrini remarks:

What was extraordinary about the World Trade Center was the fact that you could see it from everywhere in Manhattan, and that it always offered a different perspective depending on where you were. As a street photographer (or should I say urban photographer), you always had a chance to end up seeing the towers somewhere in your photo, even when it was not the main focus of your image. Looking through my slides and negatives, I realized that I was able to create a [collection] with all sorts of views of the WTC without ever thinking of it as a theme in itself. ... [M]y favorite shots of the WTC are the ones were they just appear as a "background permanent fixture" like on the view of east of Canal Street or the photos of avenues going downtown where you would always get a little glimpse of them. For more photos, check out Alessandrini's complete photo gallery of Twin Tower views.
· New York in the 1990's Photo Archive [official]
· 18 Photos of FiDi When the Twin Towers Were the New WTC [Curbed]
· All Gregoire Alessandrini photo posts [Curbed]
· All World Trade Center coverage [Curbed]