The Architect's Newspaper had a special focus section this month on the rapid changes occurring in New York's downtown. While the building boom may have fizzled out over the past year (especially around Brooklyn), the area below Canal Street is still buzzing with construction. I had some time before work yesterday morning, so I took a look for myself.

 Both inside and outside New York, there's a widely-held idea that the Ground Zero site is stalled, that nothing is going up there. I was happy to realize that one of the towers has actually reached skyline height.

I see this skyline every morning on my commute across the Brooklyn Bridge, but I hadn't noticed this building slowly rising.

It isn't much to look at now, but this will eventually become One World Trade Center.

Construction is underway everywhere downtown. Here is the soon-to-open Fulton Street Transit Center.

One block away stands the Ground Zero site:

Here's Tower 1, formerly the Freedom Tower (it's still a planned 1,776 ft).

Tower 4 is rising to the South

Up the block is the site of 99 Church Street. The project's on hold, but when completed it will be the tallest residential building in the city.

It's located next to the Woolworth Building, formerly the tallest building in the world. Its height and massive footprint is thought to have inspired the 1916 Zoning Resolution, which dictated the shape of New York's tall buildings throughout the 20's and 30's.

99 Church wasn't much more than a hole in the ground, but I liked the pedestrian crossing art by Maya Barkai.

Right behind the Woolworth you can spot Frank Gehry's Beekman Tower (the developer skimped a little by flattening on side of the undulating building).

More construction, just around the corner from Ground Zero. There's a site like this every few blocks.

My last stop before I continued up Church Street to my office was 51 Park, future home of the Park 51 Islamic Cultural Center - better known as the "Ground Zero Mosque."

The site was pretty quiet and easy to miss, with only a few news vans camped outside. The drivers sat inside the vans, eating bagels and drinking coffee. No one else seemed to notice.

AuthorChris Hamby