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October 13, 2020

Amazing Photographs of Construction Workers Installing the Antenna on the Top of the World Trade Center, 1979

In 1979, photographer Peter B. Kaplan spent 12 days shooting the crew as they installed a new piece of the communications antenna to the top of the World Trade Center’s North Tower. The antenna was added to the North Tower in 1978 and extended some 360 feet into the sky. So when he captured these guys hoisting the antenna into place, they were all about 1,728 feet off the ground.

But it’s not always hard work at the top. Back in 1979, the guys took a break to have some fun with Kaplan’s camera. Fittingly, he called this shot “Moon Over Manhattan”:

The “Moon” is a man named Dickie Riley. He actually passed away from an illness due to his clean up efforts after 9/11.

Kaplan defied gravity to share with the world the heights he obtained. Kaplan used poles and fisheye lenses to offer a look from high places most never get to see. He often got his shots by mounting his camera on poles ranging between 17 and 42 feet.  

“It cracked me up when I saw the selfie stick,” Kaplan told The News Journal in 2015. “What, are they kidding? I had a selfie stick back in the ’70s.”

Photographer Peter B. Kaplan was the only photographer allowed to work high above the top of the north tower of the World Trade Center as the building’s man antenna was constructed.

Antennas provide a significant revenue source for building owners. The antenna atop Tower 1 replaced the transmitter from the Empire State Building for all New York TV channels. And in one measure of vertical height, according to the CTBUH, antennas count. Until its destruction on 9/11, the 1,741-foot height to the top of the antenna of Tower 1 made it the tallest in the world.

The original twin towers of the World Trade Center were flat-topped, with slightly different heights. The North Tower, the first to be completed, in 1971, was the taller of the two at 1,368 feet, so remained the world’s tallest building even after the South Tower was completed at 1,362 feet in 1973. Both were surpassed by the Sears Tower in 1974 at 1,451 feet.

(Photos by Peter B. Kaplan)

1 comment:

  1. Those photos almost made me fall off my chair. Pics like that do something crazy to my brain. It's sort of fun sometimes.




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