World Trade Center
World Trade Center
The World Trade Center was a complex of buildings in Manhattan, New York City, United States, which included the emblematic Twin Towers, inaugurated on April 4, 1973 and destroyed in the attacks of September 11, 2001, along with the World Trade Center 7.
The site is currently being redeveloped with four new skyscrapers, a memorial dedicated to the victims who died in the attacks, and a transport terminal.
Before it became the Twin Towers it was described as “one of the oldest, most vital and most colorful malls” in New York. But that did not prevent it from being expropriated and demolished to build in its place the World Trade Center with its iconic Twin Towers, whose official inauguration marks half a century this April 4.
They called it Radio Row and it was considered the first “technological district” in the Big Apple due to the high concentration of businesses dedicated to the sale of radio, television, and household appliances and components.
It was a thriving commercial area that, although it would end up disappearing, it would not do so without a fight.
Radio Row began to take shape in the early 1920s, when radio broadcasting was still a revolutionary idea.
In 1921, a merchant named Harry Schneck opened City Radio, the first of these businesses to be established on Cortland Street.
From then on, dozens of similar businesses would open their doors in the same area, helping to shape Radio Row.
By 1929 other businesses had begun to operate a few meters away from City Radio such as Vim Radio, Radio Fair, Black Radio, Pryce Radio, Arrow Radio, SNS Radio, as can be seen in a film of the time made by Movietones Fox .
The area became a landmark not only for New York residents but also for buyers and fans from other places who came there knowing that it was the place where they could find the radios they were looking for or any part related to them.
The shops displayed a large number of products in their windows and tried to attract customers through loudspeakers by playing different types of music.
Before World War II, the stores worked six days a week and closed at 9 or 10 at night.
The beginning of the armed conflict brought with it harder times due, among other reasons, to the shortage of merchandise and spare parts.
The slump was relatively brief and by the 1950s, with the growing success of televisions, which also began to be sold on Radio Row, a new phase of prosperity began for businesses in that area.
The good run would not last because in the early 1960s the New York Port Authority announced plans to build the World Trade Center, whose final location ended up being the area occupied by Radio Row.
The project was promoted by the millionaire David Rockefeller and the Downtown Lower Manhattan Association (DLMA, for its acronym in English), an organization made up of important businessmen and companies with interests in that area of New York.
The Port Authority considered the proposal a good idea and, in fact, decided to take it on as its own.
The news did not go over well with the small merchants of Radio Row, especially once it became clear that the new World Trade Center complex would mean the end of this already landmark tech district.
In response to these plans, the Radio Row merchants organized to fight not only legally but also in public opinion in defense of their businesses.
By then, according to Nadel, there were about 1,600 businesses on Radio Row with a turnover of $300 million a year (equivalent to about $3 billion in 2023) and employing about 30,000 people.
The small merchants complained that the chosen area was a successful commercial zone in which, although there were certainly some buildings in disrepair, many had been rehabilitated by the merchants themselves without receiving any kind of government assistance.
They also pointed to the fact that although they would be expropriated because it was a project of the Port Authority, a public entity, the beneficiaries of their eviction would be the large private companies that would operate in the future in that area.
Nadel and the small businessmen went to court and, in parallel, carried out street protest activities against the WTC project and against the then governor of New York, Nelson Rockefeller, who had given the green light to the proposal presented by his brother. david rockefeller.
Almost a decade later, the World Trade Center would be officially inaugurated with its Twin Towers, which were destroyed during the attacks of September 11, 2001.
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World Trade Center
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