Yahoo News invited New Yorkers who have lived and worked in Lower Manhattan to briefly reflect on how their neighborhood has changed since the 9/11 attacks. Here’s one story.
FIRST PERSON | I’ve worked in lower Manhattan for years since Sept. 11th, and I have noticed a number of changes since then. Downtown, in some ways, is the same neighborhood; in others, it’s become a whole new place.
Immediately after Sept. 11, access to downtown was restricted and the area had police and national guardsmen everywhere. Some banks and other companies moved operations from downtown to midtown and New Jersey. The city and the state feared downtown would be abandoned. Authorities sought to economically diversify downtown. They succeeded.
Today’s downtown still has financial and legal firms, along with the exchanges. But Lower Manhattan now has creative firms as well. A number of older buildings in Lower Manhattan are now occupied by film industry firms. The most famous of these is Tribeca Enterprises, the owner of Tribeca Film and the producer of Tribeca Film Festival. As the area has a growing film industry, these days a number of film industry events and parties are held at various places in Lower Manhattan. Lower Manhattan got a tech industry as well, as the city gave out tax incentives to diversify Manhattan’s job base.
Another big change is the construction. Lower Manhattan got more federal money as a result of 9/11. This money was used to simplify the various mazes of stations around Fulton Street and the World Trade Center and simplify their connections. The R and the 1 train stations were connected as South Ferry. The transit system downtown is now a lot more connected. A new building above the Fulton Street Station, as well as the renovation of the Peter Corbin station, is nearly complete. The new World Trade Center complex is nearing completion as well, and should be done in a year or two.
The other big change in lower Manhattan is that its neighborhoods have become more livable. Old semi-industrial buildings in places like Tribeca got converted into loft apartments. As financial firms left, some of the older corporate buildings downtown, some of them were converted into apartment buildings. As more people began living downtown, downtown got more businesses like restaurants, bars, and grocery stores such as Whole Foods to cater to them. Stores catering to the trendy, like Prada and the Apple store, opened up in lower Manhattan. In short, all of lower Manhattan became more economically diverse, and it also became a lot more residential. The whole area is a lot trendier.