New Community Rising in N.Y.C

Manila Bulletin, September 9, 2011 | Go to article overview
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New Community Rising in N.Y.C


NEW YORK, New York, United States (Reuters) - A decade after the September 11 attacks enveloped Lower Manhattan in a thick gray dust of pulverized buildings and human remains, the surrounding area has become a trendy neighborhood with a booming population.

Although an iconic part of the New York City (NYC) skyline and a symbol of New York's exuberant commercialism, the World Trade Center's twin towers were never much loved by locals, some of whom saw them as unattractive and out of scale with the surrounding area. Now from the horror and rubble, a new community is growing.

"It feels like one of the happiest and most rejuvenated places in the city," said Greg Boyd, a 37-year-old lawyer preparing to move into a $4,000-a-month, 500 square-foot studio in Frank Gehry's new tower, five minutes from the site of the complex destroyed in the 2001 attacks.

"I've seen (the neighborhood) change from a very sleepy commercial area to a family-friendly, young couple- and single-friendly place," Boyd said.

The neighborhood, once dominated by bankers who fled after the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange, also is attracting high-profile media companies. Conde Nast, publisher of Vogue, Vanity Fair, and The New Yorker, will move into One World Trade Center when it opens in late 2014 or early 2015.

Four new skyscrapers, a memorial and park are due to be completed on the 16-acre (6.5 hectare) site of the attacks by 2015 or 2016, said developer Larry Silverstein.

One World Trade Center, the tallest of the buildings, is being developed by the Durst Organization and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the land. Silverstein, who held the ground lease on the original site, is developing the other buildings and has completed the adjacent 7 World Trade Center, which opened in 2006.

With space and financial constraints curbing new construction elsewhere in Manhattan, Lower Manhattan has become the epicenter of state-of-the-art construction involving some of the world's top architects, including Gehry.

A rebuilt and upgraded World Trade Center transportation hub and the new underground Fulton Street Transit Center will connect Lower Manhattan to nearly all areas of the island, as well as to commuters from Long Island and New Jersey.

Perhaps the biggest change is a revamped World Trade Center design that corrects that original towers' biggest flaw: a fortress-like design in the heart of downtown.

"It is a statement about what the possibilities are for New York City in the 21st century," said Mary Ann Tighe, chief executive of the Tri-State Region for CB Richard Ellis Group, Inc.

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