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The Twin Towers Before the Twin Towers

During the middle '60s I worked in downtown Manhattan and took the opportunity to explore this interesting and historic area. I took the photo below as my Jersey Central Railroad ferry entered the slip of its Liberty Street Ferry terminal. Not many years after this picture was taken, the area changed radically as it became the site of the World Trade Center complex. In fact, this watery location is now dry land, created from the excavation for the Twin Towers.

Hudson Terminal at Left and Liberty Street Ferry Terminal

At the left of this picture we see the "twin towers" that preceded the more famous and now tragically lost Twin Towers. They were the office buildings known as Hudson Terminal.

Aside from the coincidence that these nearly identical buildings were torn down for two much larger nearly identical buildings, there are a few other parallels.

Both building pairs were built by the agency that owned the railroad beneath them at the time. Hudson Terminal was built by the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad while the World Trade Center towers were built by the Port of New York Authority, who had taken over the railroad and renamed it PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson).

Both building pairs housed the railroad's terminal in their sub-basements. When the World Trade Center was built, the terminal was moved west so that it was beneath the new buildings as it had previously been beneath the old.

The respective terminals were named the same as the twin towers above them: Hudson Terminal Station for the old; World Trade Center Station for the new.

The old Hudson Terminal station still exists, used for other purposes once the trains left for the new, more westerly station. Ironically, the station may be modernized and revived to serve PATH trains once again, rather than reconstruct the newer, ruined station.

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Link: More about the abandoned Hudson Terminal Station at Joseph Brennan's Abandoned Stations Website.

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Comments or questions, share your own recollections?

©2002 and Paul Matus
Monday, June 02, 2003