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Published on Apr 19, 2015
Sky pods show rise of New York skyline from 1500s till now on time-lapse rocket ride to trade center's top. An imposingly realistic vision of 2 World Trade Center, the ultimately doomed south tower, will begin appearing next month in a most unlikely place: the five special elevators servicing the observatory atop the new 1 World Trade Center.
From the moment the doors close until they reopen 47 seconds later on the 102nd floor, a seemingly three-dimensional time-lapse panorama will unfold on three walls of the elevator cabs, as if one were witnessing 515 years of history unfolding at the tip of Manhattan Island.
For less than four seconds (roughly proportional to the time the twin towers stood), a jarringly familiar pinstripe facade will loom into view on one wall of the cab. Then, in a quick dissolve, it will evanescence.
There would have been no way around Sept. 11, 2001, said David W. Checketts, the chairman and chief executive of Legends Hospitality, the company chosen by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 2013 to operate the three-level observatory.
“The event is certainly a key part of history,” he said. “We did not think you could ignore it. Having it appear in the year it did and disappear in the year it did was the respectful way of addressing the fact that it was part of the landscape.” Two World Trade Center was the site of the original observatory.
Mr. Checketts acknowledged that the plan to confront sightseers with an image of the old tower spurred a lot of debate within his own company and with the Port Authority and the Durst Organization, developers of the new tower.
“There were strong opinions and emotional reactions all around,” he said.
Whether the public regards the depiction as a tribute, as sacrilege or as a simple matter of fact awaits the opening of One World Observatory on May 29.
But from a documentary point of view, the brief presence of 2 World Trade Center in the time-lapse sequence is consistent with its generally high degree of historical fidelity.