When a man-made disaster of unfathomable scope strikes your city and its central symbol of prosperity has been leveled to ruin — and it’s your job to jolt it into resurgence — where do you begin?

Only hours had passed after the planes struck New York City’s twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001, when then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani made a promise to rebuild: “We’re not only going to rebuild, we’re going to come out of this stronger than we were before.”

Four months later, New York’s new mayor, Michael Bloomberg, stood on the flag-clad steps of City Hall and echoed that promise: “We will rebuild, renew and remain the capital of the free world. … In the next four years I will devote myself to building a better New York.”

Days later, Bloomberg’s deputy mayor for economic development and rebuilding, Dan Doctoroff, assembled the heads of the city’s many agencies in one room. He made a big request: Each team was to produce a strategic plan and a timeline for the next year. Regular updates would be presented at what would become monthly meetings.

People were dumbfounded, Doctoroff says. Part of it was the how: “No one had ever done PowerPoint before,” he says. But also the what: “There was never that kind of level of City Hall-driven coordination on such a large scale.” It’s been decades since New York City had a citywide comprehensive planning vision.

How New York City Rebuilt Anew After Its Darkest Day

Photos: Spencer Platt/Getty Images, Mario Tama/Getty Images (2), Gary Hershorn/Getty Images


National September 11 Memorial Museum

Davis Brody Bond

The National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York City encloses 110,000 square feet of publicly accessible space that memorializes and interprets the events of September 11, 2001, within the original foundations of the original World Trade Center. New York–based Davis Brody Bond’s design was driven by four principles: memory, authenticity, scale, and emotion. Existing artifacts, including the tower footprints, slurry wall, and exposed foundations are preserved in their raw state, juxtaposed with an inserted concrete architecture that’s denoted by polished, refined finishes. Intricate detailing carefully delineates the new from the old, recognizing that the 9/11 museum is unlike a typical museum. Rather than being an iconic container for exhibits, this museum is an iconic artifact in and of itself.


Italian Line Offices, Rockefeller Center, NYC, NY
Photo by Samuel H. Gottscho, 1935
Image via Museum of the City of New York

I’m about to post a series of shots of this 1930s office - the New York office of an Italian cruise ship line - so I thought I should stop with the lobby. Looked up the address, 630 Fifth Avenue, on Google Street View, and it shows me the Italian Building at Rockefeller Center, so that seems about right. -Wendy 

The Winner of the #WelcomeOneWTC Contest

Congratulations to photographer Gerry Padden, who captured this stunning image of One World Trade Center at sunset from a rooftop in Brooklyn. Thanks to everyone who participated in the contest and helped welcome the landmark skyscraper to New York City. Learn more

My favorite tee from the new collection- The Way It Was

As a child, I grew up seeing the Twin Towers on the New York skyline every day. They defined New York to the rest of the world. The Twin Towers were a symbol of all New York culture, opportunity and mystique. When I think of them, I don’t focus on the tragedy of the day they fell, I think of what they represented. They will always be a proud symbol of The Way It Was…

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