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Sept. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Lower Manhattan, devastated by the terrorist attack that destroyed the World Trade Center 10 years ago, has doubled its residential population, added 19 hotels and invested $552 million in new parks, streets and water mains, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.
“The rebirth and revitalization of Lower Manhattan will be remembered as one of the greatest comeback stories in American history,” Bloomberg told about 300 executives and political leaders at a breakfast today marking the approach of the Sept. 11 anniversary.
The mayor took office on Jan. 1, 2002, while the World Trade Center site still smoldered. His tenure has extended over a time when “we didn’t know when -- or how -- our city would ever recover,” he said.
Bloomberg, 69, serves as chairman of the National 9/11 Memorial, slated to open during a 10th anniversary ceremony at the site. It will feature two waterfalls and pools on the original footprints of the twin towers.
Entitled “Reflecting Absence,” the memorial is surrounded by granite walls bearing the 2,982 names of victims who perished in two separate attacks on the towers, at the Pentagon and on an airplane that crashed in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001.
A memorial museum will open next year on the 16 acres that constituted the World Trade Center. Cranes at the site are currently hoisting steel for One World Trade, a 1,776-foot-high office tower; a second building, Four World Trade, and a transit terminal designed by architect Santiago Calatrava-Valls.
John Whitehead, 89, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. co- chairman who supervised planning and financing for the area’s rebuilding as chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. from 2001 to 2006, said he was most surprised that twice as many people reside in the neighborhood now than 10 years ago.
“Almost every day back then I had my doubts, but it has all come together finally,” he said. “The worst of it was at the very beginning, when the site was still smoking, fire still burned, and everybody was moving out because of the ashes and the horror of it all.”
The mayor, founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP, spoke at a breakfast sponsored by the Association for a Better New York, a civic organization representing the city’s real estate industry.
--Editors: Jerry Hart, Mark Schoifet
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