This morning marked the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that killed almost 3,000 men, women and children, most of whom died in the city's Financial District at the World Trade Center. Security felt tighter this year as streets were cordoned off and NYPD directed thousands of onlookers around the World Trade Center memorial site, was closed to the public, and officers stopped some walkers randomly to be frisked.
But it felt happier on the scene, too, more hopeful. Even as the names of the lost were read, there were fewer tears. Tourists and mourners didn't direct their cameras down toward what for years after 9/11 was a gaping hole, a mass grave, but up towards One World Trade Center, the half-built skyscraper that already feels like the greatest marvel in the city. The shiny new glass gives way at the top of the tower to matte black tarp, giving 1 WTC the appearance of a still-healing wound. The incomplete scab looks like a closer representation of the American psyche than a completed building probably ever will.