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The colossal cast-iron rings embedded in the eastern slurry wall at ground zero were — if such a thing can be imagined — the birthmark of the World Trade Center.

They were the last visible remnant of the Hudson & Manhattan Railroad, a commuter line that New Jersey officials insisted in 1962 that the Port Authority take over, before they approved the trade center project in New York. (The H. & M. was renamed PATH.) The rings marked the railroad’s route into the old Hudson Terminal, whose location determined where the twin towers would be built, since the trade center was designed to incorporate a new PATH terminal.

And the rings offered a lesson in scale. Seen from across West Street, they did not look much larger than a water pipe. But in fact, they formed a tube large enough to enclose a railroad tunnel 15 feet 3 inches in diameter. Visitors to ground zero who knew that could marvel at the dimensions of the slurry wall into which the rings were set.

This month, the rings vanished.
more here on the hudson tubes
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