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You see it when you whip over the Brooklyn Bridge, or look downtown crossing Sixth Avenue: eight isosceles triangles of blue glass, taller than anything else on the skyline. One World Trade Center, finally approaching completion after 13 years of trauma and backbiting, has become a familiar, serene sight to New Yorkers – from a distance, at least.
Up close, at the foot of the tallest building in America, it’s a different story. Trucks pull in and out of construction sites. Commuters trek through scaffolding and mazes of blue tarp. Office workers shove aside dawdling tourists, or try to. Advertisements promise forthcoming luxury boutiques, while street merchants sell New York Police Department jackets for dogs. It is at once a place of frenzy and flatness. From some angles it looks like the future of New York – from others, not like New York at all. […]