Twin Towers Remembered

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9781568983516: Twin Towers Remembered

Since 1970, when the World Trade Center towers were still under construction, Camilo Jos Vergara photographed them from every possible angle. In this poignant photographic memoir their unmistakable outline rises above neighboring spires and bridges, anchoring the skyline over a wildlife preserve in Queens, a junkyard in Hoboken, an elevated train in the South Bronx , reminding us of how strong a presence they were, no matter where one stood. After the September 11th attack Vergara returned to many of the original photographic sites to record the effects of the towers absence on New York s skyline. What emerges is not only a tribute to a building, but a moving and personal documentation of a city and an entire region a portrait of both growth and loss. All profits from the sale of this book will be donated to the American Red Cross.

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From the Publisher:

Although the Princeton Architectural Press offices are downtown in New York’s East Village, we couldn’t see the World Trade Center towers from our windows. But we all saw them on our way to work, and, like millions of other New Yorkers on September 11, stood in disbelief at the corner, or huddled around the radio in our office, or just went home, because no one felt like working, and what we were doing suddenly felt completely irrelevant.

Since then, the question all New Yorkers, indeed people all around the world, keep asking—“What can we do to help?”—seems partly an effort to recover relevance in the face of something so unspeakable that it shakes your fundamental beliefs about humanity and your place in it. It first occurred to us to put together a small, dispassionate book documenting the World Trade Center, just to preserve information about the buildings. At about the same time, I received a phone call from Camilo José Vergara, author of our book Silent Cities. Camilo arrived in New York City just as the Twin Towers were under construction, and has photographed them for the last thirty-one years. Most of his shots, taken from New York’s outer boroughs or New Jersey, show the towers rising from the New York skyline. Sometimes they serve as the background for busy streetscapes or abandoned car lots, or for pictures of his children playing, but all of his photographs remind us of how vibrant and strong a presence these buildings were, no matter where you stood. This was no detached documentation, but a moving and personal memorial to the now-fallen towers.

There was much discussion in our office about whether to publish such a book at this time. But making books about architecture is what we do, and ultimately this seemed to be the most direct way for us to offer assistance. We are donating all profits from the sale of this book to the American Red Cross. We hope this contribution, however modest, helps those who need it. We hope, too, that this tribute helps us all remember the buildings that, defying belief, are now gone.

Kevin C. Lippert, Publisher, Princeton Architectural Press October 2001

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Camilo Jose Vergara, Camilo Jose Vergara
Editorial: Princeton Architectural Press (2001)
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Camilo Jose Vergara
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