Margaret (Pallotta) Larsen



Loretta (Pisano) Brath, Margaret (Pallotta) Larsen, Joyce (Nilsen) Martinsen

“Mother PONYA” Memories - We are three retirees who would like to reflect on the fond memories that we have working for the Port Authority and the many friends we made through the years. Here are a few of those memories to share in celebration of the agency’s 100th anniversary.

On November 23, 1970, as members of the WTC Operations team under the direction of Manager Richard F. Ehmann, we became the first PA employees to occupy space in Suite 1067 of One World Trade Center a.k.a. “Tower A.” In those early days we all came in to work via a covered “sheep run” which was the only means of ingress/egress and which eventually became the WTC Concourse. There was only one elevator, a construction elevator, for everyone working at the site to use which was operated by “Gene.” There was no such thing as an elevator button so we either had to shout out his name or give a very hard-handed rap on the elevator door for service.

The entire site was still under construction and had not yet been taken over by WTC Operations. However, for those of us in the “office” there were issues that had to be addressed ASAP. The first and most important was safety. Our wonderful manager Dick Ehmann set up a “buddy system” for us eight women since ANYWHERE we went, inside or outside the building, we could never travel alone. A WTC Police Command was also established, led by Captain John Simons and his team of Police Officers, ensuring any and all public safety concerns were addressed. The next issue was temperature control. It was very cold in the office and for that matter the entire building, so we had to wear our coats almost always. The topping out of the roof did not happen until December 23, 1970, so heat was a big issue. Some examples of temporary measures that were employed were big portable gas heaters in the restrooms and anti-freeze in the toilets and everyone had an electric heater near or under their desks.

The big day and official opening was on December 15, 1970 when the very first companies moved into One WTC. A very exciting time! Communication with these brave new tenants was of paramount importance and a high priority for the WTC Operations team and we initiated creative ways to keep in contact with them on a daily basis. We would hand-deliver, in person, pertinent information via bulletins to apprise them of any and all updates regarding the building. We welcomed them with excellent customer service and established a terrific working relationship with all of them. To this day we reminisce over those “pioneer times” at WTC as the most memorable of our PA careers.

As we celebrate this 100-year milestone anniversary we feel honored to have worked for a company that became our family. Even now after retirement we are still in touch with many of our co-worker friends and we will ALWAYS remember the loss of our PA friends who were injured or perished on February 26, 1993 and September 11, 2001 and we will always cherish the wonderful memories we had working for Mother “PONYA.”



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