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For immediate release
July 23, 2002
Contact:
NPR: Jenny Lawhorn,
202-513-2754,
jlawhorn@npr.org

The Building Stewardesses Who Put a Pretty Face on Controversial WTC Profiled on Lost & Found Sound's Sonic Memorial Project

WASHINGTON D.C. -- On Monday, July 29, All Things Considered from NPR News presents "Building Stewardesses: Construction Guides at the WTC 1968-1971," a Lost & Found Sound Sonic Memorial Project feature produced by The Kitchen Sisters (Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva), with Laura Folger and Grace Kee Heifetz, mixed by Jim McKee. The 20-minute feature chronicles a little-known story from World Trade Center history: the "Construction Guides" -- friendly co-eds in mini-skirted uniforms who were posted in corner kiosks on the site to inform an inquiring public and put a pretty face on a controversial issue.

As construction commenced on the largest building project since the Pyramids, questions and controversies swirled around Lower Manhattan. How tall? Why two? What's a slurry wall? A kangaroo crane? Where are the small businessmen going to go? What's a World Trade Center, and who needs it anyway? Guy Tozzoli, the Port Authority visionary behind the building of the Twin Towers, had an inspiration -- pretty young "Construction Guides" who would act as World Trade Center ambassadors to the general public, explaining everything from how the Towers were engineered to why the World Trade Center project was good for New York City.

"I was a construction guide at the World Trade Center in the summers, 1968-1970," says Sandy Austin-Asbury. "I was viewed as somewhat of a hippie-looking person with bell-bottoms and long hair, blowing bubbles wherever I went and wearing sandals and lots of bracelets. But in my little uniform, when I was a girl-guide, I looked just like little Miss All-American."

Executive producers Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva (The Kitchen Sisters) rediscovered these Building Stewardesses while researching the World Trade Center for the Sonic Memorial Project. "Building Stewardesses: Construction Guides at the WTC 1968-1971" takes a look at a piece of history from the building of the WTC through stories told by these women, Guy Tozzoli and WTC structural engineer Les Roberston.

The Sonic Memorial Project, a six-part radio series with additional Web-exclusive content, commemorates the life and history of the World Trade Center and its neighborhood through a collection of radio stories and audio artifacts, historical records and personal stories. In addition to "Building Stewardesses," NPR will present "Three September Stories" to air on All Things Considered on Sept. 9-11, 2002. Portraits, remembrances, messages, poetry, music, memories -- an impressionistic gathering of sounds and stories, many of them contributed by listeners who called the Sonic Memorial Phone Line, make up these intimate and historic pieces marking the anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001.

The Sonic Memorial Project features material submitted by people across the U.S. who contributed personal recordings, stories and remembrances by calling NPR's Sonic Memorial Hotline at 202-408-0300 or e-mailing info@sonicmemorial.org.


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