The 9/11 terrorist attacks transformed New York City and its skyline.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, smoke filled the air, casting a grey film over the city's Financial District. As the smog began to lift, New Yorkers were confronted with the glaring disappearance of the Twin Towers, a structural duo that had become synonymous with the city itself. Movies and television shows scrambled to replace or eliminate scenes of the buildings, and video games and animated features changed their storylines to reflect their absence.
By 2002, construction began on 7 World Trade Center — one of seven new buildings at the original World Trade Center site. In the coming years, the skyline made way for cranes and steel columns as builders laid the foundation for the complex. By the end of 2014, three buildings in the site's master plan were standing. The fourth building, 3 World Trade Center, opened on June 11, 2018.
The most iconic of these renovated structures, One World Trade Center, is now the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. At 1,776 feet high, the tower is a glaring reminder of the city's reconstruction and rebirth.
The following images trace the evolution of New York's skyline before the attacks, on the day of 9/11, and on every anniversary thereafter. In addition to huge structural changes, the images depict citywide tributes to the nearly 3,000 lives lost.