World Trade Center Site 10 Years Later: What Life Is Like

World Trade Center
My 'hood
For the past three years, I've lived in downtown Manhattan on Wall Street, about a five-minute walk away from the World Trade Center site. It's hard to believe that, 10 years ago, the area was essentially deserted, with businesses and residents quickly fleeing the historic area. But now it's completely different. It's amazing how much change 10 years can bring about -- so much so that I'm actually happy to call the Financial District home.

Take a look at this photo of the WTC site from Fulton Street. I get to pass by this every single day if I want to. While seeing the new tower emerging in the skyline can be emotional and stirring, at the same time it's pretty exciting to watch the progress they've been making -- especially since the progress has really taken off only in the past couple of years or so.


Even though I love living downtown now, if you had told me I'd be living anywhere near the WTC site 10 years ago, I would have smacked you silly. On September 11, 2001, I was a senior in high school in my hometown of Sewickley, Pennsylvania. I was in AP Biology, and we had a double-period that day. When we came back from the cafeteria after our five-minute break, we saw our teacher and another student staring up at the television, their mouths agape.

With an uncle working a block away from the towers (he saw everything from his office window) and both of my parents in the airline industry, needless to say, the attacks hit hard and fast. I remember being on hold on a pay phone (remember those??) for what seemed like hours to make sure everyone I loved was okay. When my family and I visited the area a year later, with lower Manhattan still recovering and miles and miles of tributes lining the streets for those who lost their lives, the emotion we all felt was indescribable. We saw what was essentially a huge hole in the ground where those two iconic towers once stood. Again, I had no idea that in my lifetime, I'd be living five minutes away from it.WTC site

But ever since I went apartment hunting three years ago, and found a nice building at a great price and with lots of policemen patrolling the streets outside (a feature my dad sure loved), it never occurred to me that passing by the construction would be one of my favorite parts of living here. Watching the new building emerge from what I saw was just a hole in the ground a few years ago has been a profound and humbling experience. It's extremely cathartic and gives you the necessary perspective when life starts to suck, and it's something I get to do every day if I so please.

With new residents like me flocking downtown and new businesses opening up every day (yes, we did see a sign for a new TJ Maxx steps away from the New York Stock Exchange building), this area I call home is well on its way to literally rising from the ashes. I doubt that the Financial District and Manhattan itself can completely and fully recover from such a tragedy. But living here and seeing the growth for myself every day shows that, though devastation and evil and terror had once palpitated through the deserted streets, time is a powerful and miraculous healer, and I'm proud to now be a part of this thriving area.

Have you been to the World Trade Center site recently? What did you think?

Images via me

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