NEW YORK — “You are going to build the trade center,” Guy F. Tozzoli was told on his 40th birthday in 1962 by the head of the Port of New York Authority. Eleven years later, he had.
Mr. Tozzoli, among the most important figures in the development of the original World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, died Feb. 2 in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He was 90.
As director of the World Trade Department of the Port Authority, Mr. Tozzoli not only superintended development of the twin towers, but was also credited for having brought architect Minoru Yamasaki to the job, after admiring a pavilion by Yamasaki at the 1962 World’s Fair in Seattle; for shepherding the enormously popular Windows on the World restaurant atop the north tower into existence with his friend restaurateur Joseph Baum; and for coming up with the idea, while shaving, to use the tremendous volume of rubble from the trade center excavation as landfill for Battery Park City.
“Tozzoli led the team of dreamers, planners, architects and builders who overcame countless obstacles to construct the tallest buildings on earth,” James Glanz and Eric Lipton wrote in The New York Times Magazine of Sept. 8, 2002. “It seemed as if Tozzoli, the director of the project for the Port of New York Authority, had personally willed the towers into existence, outfoxing enemies, bullying colleagues, maneuvering around one intractable problem after another.”
Mr. Tozzoli embraced the idea of making the WTC the tallest building in the world.
Yamasaki favored a plan to build two 80-story towers, not 110-story behemoths, Glanz and Lipton wrote in the book “City in the Sky: The Rise and Fall of the World Trade Center.”
“Yama, I have something to tell you,” they quoted Mr. Tozzoli as telling the architect. “President Kennedy is going to put a man on the moon. You’re going to figure out a way to build me the tallest buildings in the world.”
Patrick J. Foye, the executive director of what is now known as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said Mr. Tozzoli was “one of the agency’s groundbreaking pioneers.”
Guy Frederick Tozzoli was born in North Bergen, N.J. He received a bachelor’s in analytic mechanics and a master’s in physics from Fordham University. He served as a lieutenant in the US Navy during World War II and the Korean War.
Mr. Tozzoli’s first marriage, to Miriam Lane Johnson, ended in divorce.
He leaves his children from his first marriage, Susan Tozzoli, Kathleen Bernaldo, Richard, William, Michael, and Tom; his wife, Cynthia; his sister, Rita Albert; and two grandchildren.
Guy Tozzoli joined the Port Authority in 1946.
He remained at the authority until 1987.
After retiring, he became the full-time president of the association, with an office on the 77th floor of the north tower.