- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 8, 2011

NEW YORK — From a corner office on the 43rd floor at 2 World Financial Center in Lower Manhattan, Matthew Rosenstein and his colleagues at GlobeCast America have a view that is simply breathtaking.

On a clear day, you indeed can see forever.

Off to the right, the Statue of Liberty rises out of the Hudson River. To the left, you can see much of Manhattan. Straight ahead is the South Street Seaport, where Mr. Rosenstein lives.

Just below? Ground zero.

Today, 10 years after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, ground zero is a jumble.

There are devastating reminders of what took place Sept. 11, 2001, the most prominent being the holes where the original towers once stood. There are signs of progress with construction and new towers starting to spring up. And there remains a stream of tourists, trying to get a glimpse of the place that changed forever on a similarly picturesque day a decade ago.

“I’m an optimist, and I do think this whole area is going to be a vibrant, exciting place to be in a few years,” said Mr. Rosenstein, 32, a native New Yorker. “Already there are more residents here than there were a few years ago. When all these buildings go up and they have tenants and there’s more commerce, it will be a good thing.

“All these things in the long term will be worth the wait. It is hard in the moment to appreciate what hasn’t come to pass.”

Mr. Rosenstein has no financial stake in anything that happens at the World Trade Center site. He’s merely a resident of and employee in Lower Manhattan who, like many New Yorkers, was deeply affected by what happened Sept. 11. He’s anxious to see the site come to life again while at the same time paying proper respect to the gravity of that day’s events.

And while the project has taken a while to get going and won’t be completed for another five years, according to the plans, it looks like the new structures will do just that.

The view Mr. Rosenstein and colleagues enjoy can be shared by anyone with an Internet connection. Go to www.rebuildgroundzero.org — there’s a webcam in the corner office that Mr. Rosenstein helps maintain.

“We realized we had such a unique vantage point,” Mr. Rosenstein said. “There were visitors coming here every day who just wanted to see the view. A man who was working here thought it would be a good idea to share the view, not for any commercial purpose but just to share with the world the vantage point we have.”

The entire project, which is being handled by several different companies, will have an estimated $18.7 billion cost for construction and development. It will include four towers, on the perimeter of the site. The interior will feature the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

Cavities left from the original towers have been filled in and will serve as memorials. There will be 30-foot waterfalls flowing into the cavities, and the names of those killed at the site will be listed around the pools.

“It does seem like a complete plan,” Mr. Rosenstein said. “It seems that they have thought of an ambitious plan. If they are able to get the commercial and residential tenants down here, it will be a vibrant area of activity.”

Not that there haven’t been frustrations and delays along the way. Why the 10-year anniversary of the attacks is here without a finished project puzzles some. The largest tower (and one that is furthest along in construction) was going to be called Freedom Tower. That’s since been changed to 1 World Trade Center.

“All of Lower Manhattan feels like an enormous construction site, still,” Mr. Rosenstein said. “There are a lot of ambitious projects, but all of that takes time. Having to walk in and around and above construction sites all day long has quite an impact. Sometimes, I get tired of hearing jackhammers.

“I can just speak as an individual that at times, it has been frustrating with the different slow-ups that have happened over the years. Even in the months after 9/11, no one thought it would take 10 years before we had a permanent memorial and museum, before this wound in Lower Manhattan would start to heal.”

Robert Ostrofsky, a New York firefighter, doesn’t disagree: “I hate to be a Monday morning quarterback, but I think the stat is they built the original Yankee Stadium in 210 days back in the day. It was a very short time, less than a year.

“So 10 years later and what have we got? It’s a little bit of a disgrace, a little bit of a, I don’t know, sometimes our priorities in this country are really screwed up.”

Said Paul Hurley, who owns several restaurants in Manhattan: “Ten years is too long. It should have been rebuilt in two, three years. Stand up, rebuild. By the 20th anniversary, maybe it will all be rebuilt.”

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