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Photos show the dramatic changes to Manhattan’s skyline and the World Trade Center site since the 9/11 attacks


The Twin Towers in 1999, and One World Trade Center in 2018.

  • This year marks the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
  • The World Trade Center site has become a memorial to the 2,977 lives lost in New York, DC, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
  • Photos from the last 20 years show how New York City rebuilt ground zero.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.
Here’s an aerial view of the Twin Towers on a peaceful June day in 1999.

An aerial view of the Twin Towers on a peaceful June day in 1999.
The Twin Towers in New York City are pictured in June 1999.

But that skyline was horrifically altered a little more than two years later.

A photo taken on September 11, 2001 shows smoke in the sky in Manhattan.
The first plane hit the North Tower at 8:45 a.m.

You can see the stark difference between the top photo, taken on August 30, 2001, and the bottom photo, taken 16 days after the attacks. It would take several months for rescuers to go through the rubble.

The lower Manhattan skyline is shown in an August 30, 2001 file photo (top), with the World Trade Center towers at center, and a in view taken from approximately the same spot on September 27, 2001, with both towers missing from the city's skyline following the September 11 attacks.
The attack left lower Manhattan covered in smoke.

In December 2003, a design for the new One World Trade Center was finally unveiled.

An aerial view showing the footprint of the World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan, with the Hudson River, left, on Friday Sept. 10, 2004
The footprint of the World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan, with the Hudson River at left, on September 10, 2004.

In addition to the 1,776-foot-tall One World Trade Center building, the site would come to include four other World Trade Center buildings, a 9/11 Memorial and Museum, the Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center, a WTC Transportation Hub, and Liberty Park.

A taxi drives past the construction in the Financial District in 2003.
Construction continues in the Financial District in 2003.

Source: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Curbed

A “Tribute in Lights” shone on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks in 2006, where the World Trade Center once stood. The lights still shine in tribute each year on the anniversary.

Two beams of light are seen above Manhattan as the 'Tribute in Lights' shines on the skyline on September 11, 2006.
The "Tribute in Lights" shines on the skyline of lower Manhattan in New York, September 11, 2006, as the fifth anniversary is observed.

As late as 2007, the site still looked about the same, as construction was hamstrung by lawsuits, budget overruns, design changes, and a recession.

The World Trade Center site is surrounded by skyscrapers in New York.
The World Trade Center site on August 29, 2007.

Source: Time

In 2009, the 9/11 memorial waterfalls were starting to take shape.

Cranes work above the north pool of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center site Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2009 in New York.
The reflecting pools are now the largest manmade waterfalls in North America.

One World Trade Center, also known as the “Freedom Tower,” was just starting to rise from the rubble.

Attacks Memorial Cranes work above the north pool, lower right, of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center site Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2009
Cranes at the site on January 27, 2009.

In June 2010, the skyscraper was slowly rising.

Attacks Redevelopment Construction cranes work above the rising steel structure of One World Trade Center, center, Wednesday, June 2, 2010 in New York.
The building wouldn't be complete until 2014.

By July 2011, the memorial waterfalls were being tested, and One World Trade Center’s facade was beginning to reflect the sky.

The waterfalls are tested as work continues on the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site, Friday, July 15, 2011 in New York.
The facade gave tourists and locals a preview of what's to come.

Here’s the Manhattan skyline in August 2011. You can see the unfinished tower beginning to peek over the other skyscrapers.

One World Trade Center towers over the lower Manhattan skyline, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011 in New York. The skyscraper is now 76 floors and will reach 104 floors.
The Manhattan skyline is always lit up by skyscrapers.

The memorial waterfalls officially opened in September 2011, and the museum, seen on the right, opened in May 2014.

The September 11 Museum entrance pavilion, right, sits next to one of the September 11 Memorial pools, at the World Trade Center Monday, April 14, 2014 in New York. The memorial opened to the public in September, 2011 and the museum is scheduled to open in May, 2014.
The museum entrance pavilion, right, next to one of the memorial waterfalls on April 14, 2014.

By November 2014, One World Trade Center was complete, as was 4 World Trade Center (left) and 7 World Trade Center (far right). But 3 World Trade Center, seen here with a crane above it, still wasn’t finished.

A construction crane works on top of the rising steel frame of Three World Trade Center, center, November 20, 2014 in New York. The neighboring skyscrapers are Four World Trade Center, left, One World Trade Center, second from right, and 7 World Trade Center, right.
3 World Trade Center didn't open until June 2018.

The WTC Transportation Hub, on which the soaring white Oculus was built, was also under construction in late 2014.

The Fulton Street Transit Center, left, and One World Trade Center as seen from Church Street, Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014, in New York.
The WTC Transportation Hub and One World Trade Center as seen from Church Street on October 29, 2014.

The hub officially opened in June 2016, while 3 World Trade Center was still under construction.

In this Wednesday, June 22, 2016 photo, 3 World Trade Center, center, has reached its full height of 80 stories in New York. The building is one of three new skyscrapers that replace the twin towers destroyed in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Construction continues in this June 2016 photo.

The $50 million Liberty Park also opened in June 2016. From there, visitors can get an overhead view of the ground zero memorial.

A visitor to Liberty Park takes a selfie, Wednesday, June 29, 2016, in New York.
A visitor at the elevated, one-acre Liberty Park on June 29, 2016.

Source: Gothamist

This photo, taken on June 8, 2018, shows 3 World Trade Center, One World Trade Center, 4 World Trade Center, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, and Liberty Park, all finally complete.

In this June 8, 2018 photo, 3 World Trade Center, second from right, joins its neighbors One World Trade Center, left, and 4 World Trade Center, right, next to the September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York. The center's latest skyscraper opens Monday.
From left: One World Trade Center, 3 World Trade Center, 4 World Trade Center.

With construction officially complete, the Manhattan skyline is now forever changed.

New World Trade Center Tower In this June 7, 2018 photo, One World Trade Center towers over its neighbors, including 3 World Trade Center, center, an 80-story office building in New York.
One World Trade Center on June 7, 2018.

Now the tallest building in the US, the gleaming One World Trade Center, pictured in 2020, towers over the Financial District.

An aerial view of the buildings of the Financial District in 2020.
The Financial District captured from above on September 22, 2020.

This year, the Tribute in Light is again visible on Manhattan’s skyline as New York prepares to mark the 20th anniversary of the attacks.

The Tribute In Light shines into the sky from Lower Manhattan during a test on September 07, 2021 as seen from the Brooklyn borough of New York City.
The Tribute In Light shines into the sky during a test on September 7, 2021.

Daniel Brown contributed to an earlier version of this article.

Read the original article on Business Insider





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