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The Transformation of the NYC Skyline

Photo by Justin Louis

Having grown up in the Garden State, I’ve been riding New Jersey Transit into New York City as long as I can remember. One of the things I’ve always enjoyed is the City skyline as the train passes through Newark and gets closer to Penn Station.

In my childhood you could see from The Empire State Building all the way to lower Manhattan and the iconic Twin Towers. Of course that all tragically changed on September 11, 2001, and it’s always looked awkward to me, the newly flat skyline downtown of the Empire State Building.

Recently though, that has been changing as One World Trade Center (or, unofficially, The Freedom Tower) has risen over the Financial District. It’s been pretty interesting to ride the train every so often, seeing the tower rise little by little.

As of today, the building is now the tallest building in New York City, with its frame surpassing the floors of the Empire State Building (not counting the height of the antenna that King Kong famously hung from).

As I was in New York City this past weekend and the sun gave way to dusk, the huge collection of construction lights lit up the half mirrored/half scaffolded skyscraper almost as if there was a light shining for every life lost on that terrible day. Even as a jaded “local” who’s been to Manhattan hundreds of times in my life, it was hard not to stop and stare in awe, like a tourist.

There’s still a lot of work to be done on the building, but upon completion it will be the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere (well, arguably at least), a true statement of rebuilding from tragedy.

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