11 Most Endangered Historic Places

World Trade Center Vesey Street Staircase

Year Listed: 2006
Location: New York, New York
Threat: Development

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Photo: John Bartelatone, Courtesy of 9/11 Memorial

Significance

Before the September 11 attacks, the Vesey Street Staircase was seen and used by the public on a daily basis. Located near the intersection of Vesey and Church Streets, it consisted of two granite-clad outdoor flights of stairs and an escalator that led from the World Trade Center Plaza to Vesey Street.

When terrorists crashed two planes into the Twin Towers, the staircase provided a path of escape for hundreds of people. The staircase now stands isolated and consists only of concrete slabs and blocks, a few remaining pieces of stone cladding, and steel supports, but it is nonetheless an authentic and invaluable remnant of the World Trade Center that once stood here.

Following the attack, advocates offered feasible options that would allow the site's redevelopment to move forward on schedule while preserving the staircase, the last above-ground remnant of the World Trade Center.