When the Touro Business Library first opened at 65 Broadway in 2009, the World Trade Center site was still in its early stages of construction. Being only a few blocks from the site, the staff at 65 Broadway has had the great opportunity of seeing the World Trade Center blossom and grow daily before our eyes. It has been interesting to see the transition as the WTC has become revitalized.
Thinking back to the spring of 2009, the World Trade Center was still a large “hole in the ground,” as many people called it. There were some concrete foundations, but beyond that, nothing seemed to be taking shape. There were a lot of trucks and hardhat workers milling around, but progress appeared to be stagnant. The site seemed to still reflect the tragedy of 9/11 as there was a sense of empty space and loss surrounding the area.
Everyday, I take the R train to Rector Street. The train would bypass Cortlandt Street, as the station was under construction due to the heavy damaged it sustained on 9/11. As the train passed through the station, I would notice how the mosaic tiles on the walls continued to form patterns, how the station stairways and halls began to take shape, and how the lighting changed. On the street level, progress also began to move forward as steel and glass structures started to emerge from the “hole in the ground”. Each day, I would walk past the site and watch 1 WTC and 4 WTC grow toward the sky, layer by layer.
I specifically recall the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 being a turning point. Not only were the WTC buildings continuing their progress skyward, but the September 11 Memorial opened, with its budding trees and reflecting pools. It was around this time that I remember the conductor on the R train announced that the train was making a stop at Cortlandt Street station. As the train doors opened, I could smell the fresh paint and grout that I had been seeing through the train windows for so long. Cortlandt Street station was finally open again to after years of being a dormant construction zone.
As the WTC continued to recover, the surrounding area began to sprout retail shops and restaurants, as businesses felt more confident moving back into the area. Today, the neighborhood around the 65 Broadway campus is bustling with tourists who come to pay their respects at the WTC site, as well as New Yorkers who work in the financial capital of the world. As a native New Yorker, it has been a pleasure to watch this piece of New York history unfold before my eyes. The recovery of the World Trade Center site is a symbol of how New York continues to rebuild itself and look toward the future.
Contributed by: Annette Carr, Business Librarian, Broadway