However long in coming, the Lower Manhattan that is emerging in the distant wake of that terrible day, September 11, 2001, speaks to our capacity for hard-fought renewal. Next to the rising icons of stubborn resolve, Downtown shines with new streetscapes, new hubs of transportation and a burgeoning residential population that is slowly lifting its environs from its erstwhile commitment to Brutalism.
Even with a tower at its heart, the Sidewalk Ballet is re-entering the downtown ethos, albeit under conditions that are more structured and punctilious than organic and spontaneous.
Lower Manhattan is decidedly a market in transition. The “purposeless giantism and technological exhibitionism” that Lewis Mumford called to account for “eviscerating the living tissue of every great city” is increasingly less apropos as a characterization of Downtown’s neighborhoods. The demographic shift facilitated by Liberty Bonds’s repurposing of under-tenanted office properties receives due credit. By all accounts, the last decade’s introduction of new residential space will support a markedly more livable community as office, retail and hotel inventory comes online.