Ramble On

Monday, November 3, 2014

The World Trade Center Opens

Looking north as we walked down to the Battery.
“… when the 104-story One World Trade Center officially opens for business Monday – the tallest and most expensive building in the Western Hemisphere – it will have ushered in a rebirth of lower Manhattan as a vibrant, urban neighborhood where people live, shop and eat, rather than just hustle home from white collar jobs. – Washington Post (link)

Mary and I took a trip up to Connecticut and New York City a couple of weekends ago – I have plenty of material for a series of retrospective posts on the trip, but the Washington Post article linked above, about the prospective opening of the new World Trade Center caught my eye, so I thought I might open the series with some photos about our visit to the building’s environs.

Downtown skyline at sunset, from our hotel in Chelsea.

We’d planned Sunday as a sightseeing day.  We were staying in Chelsea, midway between Downtown and Midtown, but we did have a high floor with an unobstructed view south.  The skyline photo here was taken at sunset and it features the redeveloped WTC site.

As we approached the new tower from the subway.
Certainly, the events of September 11 were a tragedy; it’s not my intention to gloss over that fact, and I have written a number of posts on the topic previously.  I’d like instead to celebrate the new building and its likely impact to lower Manhattan here, which is the subject of the Post article.  

Also, Mary and I have a six degrees thing with the building:  she having worked with David Childs during her time at SOM, and I worked on AECOM, whose subsidiary Tishman was the construction manager for the building, so there was no avoiding frequent progress reports as it went up (even if you wanted to, which I did not!). 

One of the frequent complaints about the old development was how the pattern of blocks cut off the balance of Downtown from mixed use development.  That’s been remedied in the new plan and the results speak for themselves:

New WTC site plan, copied from Wikipedia.
“The population of Lower Manhattan has tripled, from 20,000 to 60,000, with thousands of residents living in newly built or renovated condominium towers. Another 2,200 units in 10 buildings are under construction, according to the Alliance for Downtown New York, an association of building owners. Media, advertising and technology companies began snapping up the discounted office space, bringing a more a creative workforce downtown.”

We spent an hour or two walking around the new development and the memorial, before heading on down to Battery Park – itself in the midst of redevelopment as well, after being ravished by Hurricane Sandy a few years back. 

All in all, what we experienced – and what this post is meant to celebrate – is the comeback story.  As Keith Richards said in his intro to Saltof the Earth, “…you know, I got a feeling this town’s gonna make it!”  

We’re looking forward to our next visit.

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