About 10048: The World Trade Center Movie Project
The first, the original, and the often-imitated, since 2001
The World Trade Center should, because of its importance, become a living representation of man's belief in humanity, his need for individual dignity, his belief in the cooperation of men, and through this cooperation his ability to find greatness.
— Minoru Yamasaki, World Trade Center architect
The goal of 10048: The World Trade Center Movie Project is simple: To commemorate New York's World Trade Center by compiling a canonical list of films and other mass media in which the twin towers appear.
Why? Because no matter how many times I see footage of the towers falling, or overviews of the naked 16 acres where these monoliths once stood, they'll never really be gone. Not to me, anyway.
Like a lot of people, I used to think the towers looked out of place, dominating the New York City skyline. When the WTC opened in the early 1970s, I wasn't even a teenager, nor had I fallen in love with New York... yet. What bugged me most about the towers was that they had taken the title of NYC's tallest building away from the Empire State Building.
I was 35 before I finally caved in and visited NYC for the first time. And I fell completely, hopelessly in love with the city. I quickly became very fond of the Trade Center, too, as the towers served as my abiding landmark. (New York City isn't at all difficult to navigate — unless you're in the Village, and then first-timers will wish they faced a simpler task... like trying to navigate their way out of the hedge maze in The Shining.)
My first and only visit to the WTC itself was in 1999. It was a windy day, so the observation deck on the roof was closed — but I was quite happy pressing my face against the floor-to-ceiling glass on the 107th floor.
It felt like flying.
The last time I saw the towers was in July, 2001. I took an Australian friend on her first cross-country tour of the U.S., from California to New York and back. After a week in NYC, we drove up to Yonkers and spent the night so we could tour a bit of Washington Irving territory before heading southward. It was sunset by the time we drove down the New Jersey side of the Hudson; across the water, the New York skyline positively gleamed in a breathtaking orange glow. When most of the skyscrapers had disappeared beneath the horizon and all I could see were the towers themselves, I told my companion: "Take a good look out the back — we're not going to see that sight again for a very long time."
Less than two months later, I knew we would never see that sight again, ever.
Ever since September 11, 2001, I find myself taking in a little extra gasp of air every time I spot the towers while watching a movie... or TV show, or music video, or commercial. I don't know if it has the same effect on you, but to me, an unexpected glimpse at the towers, in all their glory, is actually quite comforting.
Maybe these glimpses into the past allow me to relive a split-second of memory when everything seemed okay, before our world changed forever. Maybe I just need proof, repeatedly, that the towers did once stand. Or maybe it's like what they say about people who are long gone — that they're really very much still alive, as long as someone remembers them as they were in life. I think that goes for things as well — buildings included, as they indeed have their own "life," their own energy.
And, as we all know too well now, the World Trade Center towers, whether you loved them or hated the sight of them, will never again be remembered as just a couple of buildings. They symbolize so many different things now, to so many different people.
If you, as I, want to remember the towers as they were — whatever your own personal reasons may be — I invite you to help me compile this database.
With your help, and as I re-screen these movies again, I add brief notes to each title indicating exactly when and where to see the towers, in specific shots of each film.
The "rules" are simple: A movie qualifies if you can see the World Trade Center in it. The film doesn't have to feature the towers — just an overview of the city in which you can spot the towers, or even a brief shot of the WTC at the far end of a street, qualifies.
I don't want movies from which shots of the World Trade Center have been cut, or the towers digitally removed. Not only do these films not qualify as WTC movies, but I personally find the practice of "erasing" the towers from existing footage deplorable. You wouldn't cut Grandpa out of the family pictures just because he was dead, would you?
P.S. Why "10048"? Because the World Trade Center had its very own Zip code. Actually, it had two — 10047 and 10048, but I knew of 10048 first (and I like the way "one-double-oh-four-eight" rolls off the tongue). Not that there's anything wrong with 10047...
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