The site called a "hole in the ground" for years has cranes in the air, trains running underground and hundreds of trees planted around giant, man-made waterfalls to remember the dead of Sept. 11.
And the surrounding neighborhood - no longer just a financial district - is bursting with young families, new schools, a Whole Foods and a Barnes & Noble.
Tourists squint and point their cellphones at 1 World Trade Center, once known as the Freedom Tower.
"I'm kind of proud because I was here two weeks after 9/11 and this was a dust pit," said Larry Brancato, 59, of Wallingford, Conn, walking by ground zero. "It just shows that Americans have always had a can-do attitude."
After years of inertia, and prolonged disputes between government agencies, insurer and a developer who had just taken out a 99-year lease on the towers when they were toppled, the development of the trade center is substantial, and the tallest tower can now be seen for miles.
"People can begin to see that this is no longer a hole in the middle of New York, but a real place is emerging," said architect Daniel Libeskind, whose master plan serves as a blueprint for the site.
A memorial featuring waterfalls cascading into the footprints of the twin towers will open to the public on Sept. 12, a day after families see their loved ones' names around the pools for the first time. The skyscraper formerly known as the Freedom Tower is growing by a story a week and now stands 1,000 feet above the skyline as the tallest building in lower Manhattan. A transit station and a second office tower also are taking shape.
Image: In this August 23, 2011 file photo, One World Trade Center rises above the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty, in New York. The tower will be 104 floors and 1,776 feet (541 meters) tall when completed. Ten years after terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center, the new World Trade Center is rising from ground zero.Text & Images: AP