What were you doing 15 years ago when you heard of two hijacked commercial aircraft crashing into NYC’s Twin Towers, causing the iconic buildings to collapse and taking some 2,606 lives?

9/11 – it’s a date imprinted in the western world’s history books as a day of devastation, the emergence of religious radicalism and the renewal of the US and UK’s ongoing political battle to control the Middle East.

And while almost 15 years later, the impact of the unforgettable event continues to be felt amongst those who lost a loved one and by the millions of lives affected by the subsequent actions of US leaders, locally Lower Manhattan has undergone a transformation to become a “newly envisioned destination” that echoes the tragic day in every new flower, memorial and hotel.

According to NYC & Company’s President and CEO, Fred Dixon, over the last several years, the downtown neighbourhood has experienced a renaissance to become a city hotspot with the debut of a Westfield World Trade Center shopping complex, a Four Season New York Downtown and more.

“Lower Manhattan’s remarkable revitalisation over the last 15 years is a cornerstone of the ‘new’ New York City.”

Fred Dixon, NYC & Company President and CEO

“With tourism reaching record levels in New York City, visitors and locals have more choices to explore, shop, stay and dine than ever before in this newly reimagined downtown neighborhood.”

So what’s changed?


Attractions and Culture

Travel Agent New York Tribute Lights

The crown jewel of the area’s redevelopment is the 1,776-foot One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and home to One World Observatory, which opened in May 2015. To compliment the building and to honour the upcoming 15th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum will open a new exhibit ‘Rendering the Unthinkable: Artists Respond to 9/11’ on September 12.

Last year, the aqua-themed SeaGlass Carousel also opened at Battery Park, as well as the expansion of the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration in New York Harbor.

South Street Seaport is currently going through a transformation with a new iPic luxury cinema opening on October 7, the reopening of the South Street Seaport Museum earlier this winter and 300,000 square feet of new retail space opening next year.

Just a ferry ride away from Lower Manhattan, Governors Island completed its transformation this summer into a cultural and educational hub with the opening of The Hills, four man-made hills that provide unparalleled views of the skyline, featuring the tallest slide in the City.



New York bird

The World Trade Center Transportation Hub, which was completed in May, has been described as the next generation’s Grand Central by offering seamless undergoing connections between Brookfield Place and Fulton Center.

The transportation hub features 11 subway lines, PATH trains to New Jersey, Battery Park City Ferry Terminal, Brookfield Place and access to the the World Trade Center. It serves some 200,000 daily commuters and is home to the Westfield World Trade Center shopping complex.

Meanwhile, Fulton Center, which debuted in November 2014, is a retail and transportation hub that connects to nine MTA subway lines and five subway stations for more than 300,000 riders and in October 2015, Mayor De Blasio announced that the free Staten Island Ferry service will run at least every 30 minutes, seven days a week between Lower Manhattan and Staten Island.



Lower Manhattan Skyline 1_KateGlicksberg_0107

The latest fashion trends and name-brand retailers now call Lower Manhattan home.

Fulton Center offers a variety of handcrafted products from retailers such as NYS Collection, Moleskine and Tiecoon, while along the Hudson River waterfront, Brookfield Place, which opened in 2015, is home to contemporary luxury brands such as Diane von Furstenberg, Michael Kors, Lululemon.

The $1.4 billion Westfield World Trade Center shopping complex has just opened with around 60 stores, with 40 more stores opening by the end of the year to occupy the 365,000 square feet of retail space. Shops that have opened so far include Apple, Under Armour, Kate Spade and Lacoste.



Eataly Downtown

World-renowned chefs, new concepts and outposts of the City’s best restaurants are some of the new culinary experiences to be found in Lower Manhattan.

At Brookfield Place, visitors can browse through a French-inspired market at Le District, featuring three restaurants and four districts selling quality meats, cheeses, breads and more. Upstairs from Le District is Hudson Eats, serving up popular dishes from city mainstays including Mighty Quinn’s Barbeque and Num Pang sandwich shop. Another city mainstay, Shake Shack, has recently opened at Fulton Center.

The new Eataly NYC Downtown Italian marketplace debuted at 4 World Trade Center this month and features tastings, a sit-down Southern Italian restaurant, bread bakery, Italian coffee bar and several to-go options. Pier A Harbor House, which opened last year in Battery Park, is an old immigration hall turned into a restaurant and beer hall, featuring fresh seafood and private event space with views of the Statue of Liberty.

Wolfgang Puck will open his award-winning steakhouse CUT by Wolfgang Puck next month at the Four Seasons New York Downtown, his first restaurant in the City. At The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel. acclaimed chef Tom Colicchio will open his signature Fowler & Wells restaurant, along with restaurateur Keith McNally and his Brasserie-style restaurant Augustine, on August 23. Celebrity chef John-Georges Vongerichten plans to debut a food hall–style fish market and restaurant in Pier 17 at South Street Seaport in 2017. Additionally, David Chang is planning a dynamic new concept at the same location.

Have you visited Lower Manhattan in the last 15 years?