9/11 Anniversary: NYC Financial District Today

Published on Sep 12, 2011


Ten years after the World Trade Center attacks of 9/11, a collective portrait of NYC's Financial District today.

Yesterday, September 11, 2011, marked the tenth anniversary of that harrowing, heartbreaking day on which, we all predicted, "everything had changed." And, of course, in some ways we were right. Ten years after the World Trade Center was destroyed and, all told, 2,977 people were murdered, New York City is a different place than it was on the morning of September 11, 2001... but often in ways that no one could have foreseen.

Like everyone else, I spent much of last week as the 9/11 anniversary approached thinking more than ever about the attacks, and the changes they have wrought on my home, this city that I love. But since Urban Edge is, after all, a website about NYC rental apartments, I thought I'd simply serve a kind of round-up of what some in the online real estate community had to say about the World Trade Center site today, as well the surrounding Financial District neighborhood.


As part of their special section 9/11: The Reckoning, The New York Times takes a long, extremely informative look at the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan, featuring an interactive, panoramic recreation of the original World Trade Center complex; videos and graphics explaining the remarkable design and engineering that has gone into the new World Trade Center, including the 9/11 Memorial Plaza and the two of the largest fountains ever built.

Perhaps most amazing is the above graphic, which gives an overview of the city's-worth of development and construction in Lower Manhattan in the past decade. Of note: most of those 8,200,000 square feet of new residential space are in Financial District rental apartment buildings--something no one would have predicted ten years ago, an astonishing fact on this anniversary of 9/11.


The New York Post, the Wall Street Journal and the Daily News all have portraits of the neighborhoods of Lower Manhattan today--Battery Park City, Tribeca, the Financial District, to name three--focusing especially upon the remarkable turnaround of an area that many declared done ten years ago. In fact, as the Wall Street Journal points out, Lower Manhattan is the fastest-growing residential area in all of New York City, having added some 26,800 new residents in the past decade.

The Post chimes in by noting that, even with all of the construction of FiDi rental apartments, the vacancy rate is a scant 0.83%, less than already ridiculously low Manhattan rental apartment average of 0.86%. And, of course, with all of those new residents, many living in what can only be described as luxury rental apartment buildings like New York by Gehry and Barclay Tower, the stores, services, restaurants and nightlife options seeking these frequently affluent New Yorkers have followed, prompting the Daily News to call their article "Ten Reasons Why Lower Manhattan Might Be the City's Top New Neighborhood" (the new and lovely East River Esplanade, pictured above, is just one).


On a more architectural tangent, Curbed's Kelsey Keith offers a handy round-up of what some of the city's most influential critics have to say about the design of the new World Trade Center, both the One World Trade Center building itself as well as the 9/11 Memorial Plaza. Most of the praise seems to go to Michael Arad's 9/11 Memorial Plaza, led by Bloomberg's James S. Russell, who says: "Visitors can remember loved ones or pray as the trees cast dappled shadows on passersby chatting with friends. Recognizing loss while getting on with our lives is an enormously affirming gesture."

As for Daniel Libeskind/David Childs/et al's One World Trade Center, the critics are less kind, with the New Yorker's Paul Goldberger weighing in with "The shape is a little discordant; from some angles, the building looks like a metallic whale beached beside the memorial."


Three other pieces of note as we mark the passing of the tenth 9/11 anniversary. Linda Tischler at Fast Company explains exactly how the horrors of 9/11 have changed the way firms such as Skidmore, Owings & Merrill design and build skyscrapers today, including, of course One World Trade Center. For example: sprinkler supply lines are now, by law, required to be housed within an impact-resistant core, "a major difference from the Twin Towers."

Over at The Real Deal, Sarabeth Sanders has a brief but telling interview with mega-developer Larry Silverstein, the man who signed a 99-year, $3.25 billion lease on the World Trade Center site--at that time, the biggest real estate transaction in New York City history--seven weeks before the attacks turned it all to rubble.

And, finally, DNAinfo's Julie Shapiro looks ahead to 9/11's 20th anniversary, ten years from now, and tries to imagine what the site, and the Financial District neighborhood, will look like then. Most intriguing: the Frank Gehry-designed performing-arts center (above); affordable housing in World Trade Center 5, and the completion of the East River waterfront renovations, with it's centerpiece East River Park, various promenades, and bike paths connecting Battery Park all the way up through the Lower East Side and the East Village.

Back to Blog