Sandwiched between two towering buildings, and in the shadow of One World Trade, is a New york staple, Stage Door Delicatessen.

For more than 30 years, the Vesey Street deli has been in the Travlos family, serving Wall Street traders, businesspeople,and tourists alike.

Six months before the September 11th terrorist attacks, Nick Travlos took the business over from his father.

"It was, you know, the financial capital of America. It was busy. It was, you know, a lot of people around. We were open 24 hours," Travlos said.

With the exception of a renovated interior and occasional updates to the menu, not much has changed inside Stage Door Deli, but in the last 20 years, the neighborhood has.

"The neighborhood has developed over the years, especially since, you know, since rebuilding like the Oculus, it's become more residential," Travlos said.

The original World Trade Center was completed in 1971. The 16-acre complex was home to seven buildings and nearly 10 million square feet of office space. By 2001, it housed more than 430 businesses from 28 countries. The Twin Towers were a symbol of global commerce, but lower Manhattan was a neighborhood people commuted to for work, not a neighborhood they lived in.

"I mean, the people would often say that, you know, you couldn't find anybody on Wall Street after 5 o'clock at night. Before 9/11, less than 20,000 people lived here. And now, we have over 65,000 people that are here," said John Maher, the vice chairman of CBRE, a commercial real estate and investment services firm.

Before September 11th, there were 188 residential buildings, compared to 337 in 2020.

Not only have people moved downtown, but business has, too. Conde Nast left Midtown in 2014 to become the anchor tenant of One World Trade. Spotify signed a lease at Four World Trade, and Uber at Three World Trade.

"Twenty years ago, 30 years ago, it was all people in suits, jackets and ties, you know, head down with their briefcase. And now, it's so a lot of people in the technology world and in a category that didn't even exist, you know, that long ago. As you can see here, we've got, you know, Uber has moved into this building. Spotify is in this building. WPP, one of the world's largest advertising agencies in this building. That was unheard of 10, 15 years ago," Maher added.

Born out of the ashes is a new Lower Manhattan, one that caters to the needs of its residents.

The area is now home to nearly 1,300 retail shops, restaurants and bars, compared to fewer than 900 pre-September 11th.

Hotels are popping up, too. In 2001, there were only six in Lower Manhattan. Now, there are 37.

There is also more than 90 million square feet of office space, but, there have been some challenges filling that space. Two World Trade was supposed to be completed by 2020, but construction was halted in 2013 and there is still no anchor tenant locked in.

The global pandemic has exacerbated some of those challenges, but still, Lower Manhattan is moving strongly forward as it transforms into a tourist destination, a residential neighborhood, and a place for tech companies to establish roots.

"A lot of companies that come here, they're, they don't wake up one morning and say, 'Let's move downtown.' But as they start to explore it, they realize the value proposition economically, and then they realize what an enjoyable place it is. Right, you know, what people's old notions of Wall Street and, and downtown, and these dark canyons is not true at all," Maher said.

Travlos feels the shift, too. While the deli still serves the regulars, financiers and tourists, construction workers are the bulk of his afternoon business. At 12:05 each day, a line of hard hats stretches out the door. They serve as a daily reminder of what happened on that Tuesday morning, but also as a sign of the growth and things to come in Lower Manhattan.

"New Yorkers, you know, they're tough. We’re tough. We just, you know, we're still at it. We're still at it," Travlos said.