Graeme Wood


The Twin Towers

Originally appeared in The Daily.

The World Trade Center site is now hallowed ground, and to denigrate the architecture of its enormous rectangular towers is vaguely uncouth, as if to denigrate not just the towers but the great city that produced them. But critics were not always so respectful. When the towers went up in the early 1970s, everyone found something to hate. Those who liked shiny glass skyscrapers moaned at these opaque figures now marring the skyline. More classically inclined critics asked whether this was where modern architecture had brought us — to big rectangles, witless and inert, as ugly as they were inhuman. The unkindest cuts came from those who said they were not up to the Big Apple’s standard — “so utterly banal,” wrote the critic Paul Goldberger, “as to be unworthy of the headquarters of a bank in Omaha.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Empire State Building takes a momentous hit

Accidental 1945 bomber crash recalls the more sinister events of 9/11

Originally appeared in The Daily.

In New York on July 28, 1945, the clouds were low and spirits were high. The war in Europe was over, and although no one knew it, the war in the Pacific would soon be over, too. When Paris was liberated a few months before, Allied pilots performed dramatic aerial stunts, including one that was especially daring: flying a B-25 Mitchell bomber under the Eiffel Tower. In New York, the B-25 would again be the star of the day’s events, but this time tragically.  Read the rest of this entry »

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