One could always argue about whether the buildings were the tallest in the world - without their broadcasting antennas they were not; with the antennas they were - but it seemed beyond dispute that the 110-story towers together loomed largest in the psyche of New York. Who, after all, can form a mental image of the world's tallest building, the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?
The twin towers were not beautiful, or poetic. They had not the art deco grace of Manhattan's Empire State Building nor the Chrysler Building. The towers were sheer power expressed in steel, concrete, aluminum and glass, bearing in their staggering ascension a certain arrogance, too.
From the beginning, the towers were considered an unfortunate example of urban renewal, an unsightly answer to the question of how to improve conditions in a shabby section of lower Manhattan. Sixteen acres of neighborhood were sacrificed to the project. According to the Times, the towers disrupted flight patterns of birds, which crashed into the towers by the dozens and fell dead to the pavement.