Soon after its 1973 completion, the World Trade Center, and specifically the Twin Towers, were recognized as New York City’s new, must-see destination. Although initially criticized for their architecture of "gigantism," the buildings captured the public imagination as an icon of the city’s audacity, vitality and economic might. Additionally, their dominance in lower Manhattan’s skyline created a landmark for residents, travelers and pilots searching for geographical bearings in the metropolitan region. Stripped of their “tallest” title as other cities and countries entered the hi-rise building competition, the Towers nonetheless retained symbolic status as a mirror and measurement of modern America itself —a place of soaring possibilities and dreams.
A souvenir trade quickly developed around the World Trade Center as the Towers became one of the most photographed features of cityscape. The buildings lent themselves to miniaturization as key chains, pencil sharpeners, snow globes, holiday ornaments and other trinkets, and found their way onto the surfaces of postcards, plates, mugs, ashtrays, scarves, neck ties, table clocks, baseballs and commemorative spoons. The bi-state Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which had built the World Trade Center and headquartered the agency there, also promoted the Twin Towers through merchandise featuring their distinctive silhouettes. Beyond reinforcing the Towers’ architectural prominence, tourist memorabilia were produced to celebrate the distinctive public attractions crowning each World Trade Center skyscraper: the South Tower Observation Deck, and the North Tower Windows on the World Restaurant.