When I first moved to New York in the spring of 2004, there was nothing going on at Ground Zero. The debris had been cleaned up, and the fires extinguished, but there was no reconstruction activity. My first two jobs were in the financial district, and I saw Ground Zero every morning as I exited the 4/5 subway line at the Fulton Street station. And for the longest time, in the years that followed, there was very little, if any, activity going on down there. There were a number of reasons as to why building wasn’t progressing faster. First off, there was a massive amount of litigation (and there still is). Second, nobody could really agree on the designs of the proposed structures, and they kept changing again and again. Third, even if they built the new complex to the new specifications, I don’t think Larry Silverstein (the developer) was confident that he could fill it with tenants. Due to the lack of construction, the site earned itself a nickname, and not a very nice one at that: ‘the Pit.’ It was so called due to the fact that it basically looked like a giant, square pit filled with gravel.
Nine years after the attacks, I’m glad to say that’s changed. I went down to the financial district this past August, the first time that I had been there in over a year, and there is a lot going on. Construction is ongoing, and there’s been a significant amount of progress that’s been made. I can’t think of a more fitting tribute to the victims of 9/11 than to rebuild, bigger and better than before, that which was destroyed.