Here's what Lower Manhattan looks like, 15 years since 9/11
A 'new' New York
15 years since 9/11, Lower Manhattan has been 'reimagined' as a whole new destination for visitors and locals.
When Ground Zero smoldered following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, with the Twin Towers gone and bodies trapped in mountains of pulverised steel and concrete, few could have imagined how the city would recover.
But recover it has, with true New York grit and determination.
Rebuilding Lower Manhattan hasn't always gone smoothly. There have been arguments, debates and controversies (many continue to rumble).
But 15 years since terrorists killed 2,996 people and injured thousands, the site of the former World Trade Center has undergone a "renaissance".
That's according to NYC & Company, the city's destination marketing organisation, which is using this week's anniversary to invite locals and visitors to discover a "re-imagined" neighborhood experiencing "an extraordinary moment in time".
Lower Manhattan, once mainly a financial hub, has become one of the city's top tourist destinations, thanks to a brand new mix of memorials, soaring skyscrapers, shopping malls, new hotels, restaurants, attractions and architectural landmarks.
Here's what's new (below and in our gallery, above).
Attractions, Memorials & Culture
Lower Manhattan now has a whole new hub of culture and attractions.
The crown jewel of the area’s redevelopment is the 1,776-foot One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and home to One World Observatory (above), which opened in May 2015.
To honor the 15th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum (below) will open a new exhibit Rendering the Unthinkable: Artists Respond to 9/11 on September 12.
In spring 2015, the aqua-themed SeaGlass Carousel opened at Battery Park, along with the expansion of the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration.
South Street Seaport is currently going through a transformation with a new iPic luxury cinema opening on October 7, the reopening of the South Street Seaport Museum earlier this winter and 300,000 square feet of new retail space opening next year.
Just a ferry ride away from Lower Manhattan, Governors Island completed its transformation this summer into a cultural and educational hub with the opening of The Hills, four man-made hills that provide views of the skyline, featuring the tallest slide in the city.
New hotels are springing up all over the neighborhood.
Historic Victorian architecture meets modern luxury at The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel, which opens to the public on August 23. The hotel features 287 rooms, including penthouse suites and an original nine-story glass atrium.
The luxurious Four Seasons New York Downtown, which opens late September, will 189 rooms and suites just a block away from the World Trade Center. The hotel will include an urban spa, as well as a new restaurant, CUT by Wolfgang Puck.
Business travelers and families looking for extra space can check out the newly opened AKA Wall Street (above), complete with 132 fully furnished extended-stay apartments, or the all-suite Conrad New York, featuring 463 luxury suites overlooking the Hudson River.
Shopping & Retail
Lower Manhattan has become something of a shopping Mecca.
Fulton Center offers a variety of handcrafted products from retailers such as NYS Collection, Moleskine and Tiecoon.
Along the Hudson River waterfront, Brookfield Place, which opened in 2015, is home to contemporary luxury brands such as Diane von Furstenberg, Michael Kors, Lululemon and an 85,000-square-foot Saks Fifth Avenue opening next month.
The $1.4 billion Westfield World Trade Center shopping complex has just opened with around 60 stores, with 40 more stores opening by the end of the year to occupy the 365,000 square feet of retail space.
So far, stores include Apple, Under Armour, Kate Spade and Lacoste.
Restaurants & Food
World-renowned chefs, new concepts and outposts of the City’s best restaurants are all among the new culinary experiences in Lower Manhattan.
At Brookfield Place, visitors can browse through a French-inspired market at Le District, featuring three restaurants and four districts selling quality meats, cheeses, breads and more.
Upstairs from Le District is Hudson Eats, serving up popular dishes from city mainstays including Mighty Quinn’s Barbeque and Num Pang sandwich shop. Another city mainstay, Shake Shack, has recently opened at Fulton Center.
The new Eataly NYC Downtown Italian marketplace (above) debuted at 4 World Trade Center this month and features tastings, a sit-down Southern Italian restaurant, bread bakery, Italian coffee bar and several to-go options.
Pier A Harbor House, which opened last year in Battery Park, is an old immigration hall turned into a restaurant and beer hall, featuring fresh seafood and private event space with views of the Statue of Liberty.
Celebrity chef John-Georges Vongerichten plans to debut a food hall-style fish market and restaurant in Pier 17 at South Street Seaport in 2017. Additionally, David Chang is planning a dynamic new concept at the same location.
To support the new development efforts in Lower Manhattan, there have been several enhancements to the neighborhood’s transportation infrastructure.
Fulton Center, which debuted in November 2014, is a retail and transportation hub that connects to nine MTA subway lines and five subway stations.
In October 2015, Mayor De Blasio announced that the free Staten Island Ferry service will run at least every 30 minutes, seven days a week between Lower Manhattan and Staten Island.
The World Trade Center Transportation Hub, which was completed in May, connects visitors to 11 subway lines, PATH trains to New Jersey, Battery Park City Ferry Terminal, Brookfield Place and the World Trade Center complex.
The hub creates an underground connection that stretches between Brookfield Place and Fulton Center. It's housed under the Santiago Calatrava–designed Oculus, serving 200,000 daily commuters and home to the Westfield World Trade Center shopping complex.
“Lower Manhattan’s remarkable revitalization over the last 15 years is a cornerstone of the ‘new’ New York City,” said Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company.
“With tourism reaching record levels in New York City, visitors and locals have more choices to explore, shop, stay and dine than ever before in this newly reimagined downtown neighborhood.”
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