World Trade Center Observation Deck Photos Two Weeks Before 9/11

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The World Trade Center stood majestically on the southern tip of New York City.
Photo: Maria Adcock

Two weeks prior to 9/11, I trekked to the top of the World Trade Center with a friend. We snapped photos and left. Hindsight revealed that the opportunity to capture these photos would never arise again.

After waiting in line for an hour, we entered the observation deck elevator. A crisply dressed young man operated the packed elevator. He turned around and smiled after shutting the doors. One sensed he enjoyed guiding the visitors, patiently answering their endless questions. As we whizzed up through the floors of the South Tower, he noted the roofless observation deck would offer a panoramic view of more than 55 miles on a clear day like today. Our ears popped as we raced to the top.

We reached the indoor observation deck on the 107th floor in only a few minutes. We proceeded to switch to another elevator to ascend to the 110th floor outdoor observation deck.

Just like on 9/11, the weather boasted sun and a warm breeze with a hint of fall. Atop the World Trade Center, I clicked the shutter of my camera, memorializing its glorious views. I noticed the silhouettes of the two towers gracing over the Woolworth Building, shadows that darkened the world two weeks later.

Someday I plan to show my daughter my World Trade Center observation deck photos. She will see how proudly they once stood, and how inspiring they can be for the future.

View of the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge from the WTC observation deck.
Photo: Maria Adcock


The Empire State Building stood above all others
as seen from the WTC observation deck.

Photo: Maria Adcock

Southern view from the WTC observation deck.
Photo: Maria Adcock

Visitors could see the outline of Manhattan in this northern view.
Photo: Maria Adcock

From the 110th floor of the WTC, the Statue of Liberty appeared tiny.
Photo: Maria Adcock

The silhouettes of the two towers fell upon the
Woolworth Building, foreshadowing what was
to come two weeks later.

Photo: Maria Adcock

Note: I originally wrote this piece two years ago, but never published it in Bicultural Mama because this website did not exist back then. I have since made some edits and wanted to share this for the 10th anniversary of 9/11 in remembrance and reflection of that tragic day.

  • Ash

    Incredible photos, especially the shadows. I just shared these with my 9yro and he was all “wow” and “cool.” This is the first year that we’re really delving into all the details with him. So nice for him to be able to see the once majestic buildings and their view. Thank you.

  • CM

    So sad and surreal, yet amazing that you captured these images. Thanks for sharing them with us.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for sharing x

  • Teresa

    It still hurts to look at pictures of the etc and think of all who had died. Thanks for sharing your pictures.

  • Jenn L

    Thanks for sharing not getting to NYC before this tragic event is a very sad loss for this cdn girl!

  • Amberr Meadows

    To think of this tragic incident, even a decade letter, still brings tears to my eyes, and I remember exactly where I was at the time that it happened.

  • Erin Wallace

    Thanks for sharing these. I was thinking about that young man who led you up in the elevator and what became of him. All of it is so tragic that there aren’t even/words to describe it.

  • Sara Anderson

    Thank you for sharing these. I have never been to New York, but we hope to some day soon and plan to visit the memorial. These pictures literally gave me chills.

  • Bicultural Mama

    @Erin Wallace
    Erin, I wonder about the young man working the elevators, too. Was he there that day? Was he stuck in the elevator when the airplanes hit? I’ll never know.

  • Oh diane

    Awesome pictures. I can’t believe that as a native New Yorker, I don’t have one single photo of the World Trade Center.

  • Jen Marshall Duncan

    It is totally amazing that you captured these moments so close to 9/11. They are powerful and beautiful pictures that preserve history. I am so glad that you had the opportunity to take them, and thank you for sharing this slice of the past with us.

  • usamiaa

    Amazing and awesome!

  • Kerri

    I remember these views. I wish I had taken more photos when I was there.

  • Deepak

    Thanks for sharing these pictures…prompted me to browse through my old photo albums and relive those memories.

  • Jill

    I have the chills. I can’t believe you were on the observation deck taking these photos just 2 weeks before.

    My most vivid memory of the towers (other than working in the World Financial Center) is my now husband (then bfriend) putting his hand on them and looking up at the sheer size and how tiny he looked standing next to them. We were downtown just strolling around.

  • Veronica @ Mixed Gems

    This reminds me of my trip up to towers all those years ago. It was an amazing experience. The view was unbelievable. Even now, looking again at your photos, it’s amazing to see how imposing those towers were. I look forward to visiting NYC to see the Freedom Tower one day.