LOWER MANHATTAN — At the World Trade Center, progress and decline sit side by side.
Visitors to the site on the 11th anniversary of the attacks Tuesday will see new towers soaring skyward — but they will also notice other projects where construction has all but stopped amid money problems and political disputes.
The underground 9/11 Memorial Museum, which was supposed to launch this week, won't open for at least another year, thanks to a lengthy disagreement between Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. Andrew Cuomo about who should run it and how to pay for construction cost overruns.
While Bloomberg and Cuomo reached a deal late Monday to restart construction on the museum this fall, neither side could give a projected opening date for the long-anticipated exhibits.
And developer Larry Silverstein's Towers 2 and 3, along Church Street, have barely risen above the ground, their progress frozen by Silverstein's inability to sign tenants and secure private financing for construction.
But just to the south, Silverstein's sleek 72-story Tower 4 topped out earlier this summer, in an emotional ceremony that saw the final steel beam hoisted 977 feet above the ground. The 2.3 million-square-foot building is scheduled to open in the fall of 2013.
And back in April, the rising 1 World Trade Center surpassed the Empire State Building to become the tallest tower in New York City. The nearly 3 million-square-foot skyscraper continued to grow and topped out over the summer, not long after a visit from President Barack Obama. It will open in 2014.
This year also marked the first time the public has had regular access to the World Trade Center site since 9/11. More than 4 million people visited the 8-acre 9/11 Memorial since it opened last September, paying their respects at the memorial's waterfalls in the Twin Tower footprints, which are surrounded by bronze panels bearing the victims' names.
Underground and invisible from the street, the transportation hub designed by Santiago Calatrava is steadily taking shape. The nearly $4 billion white-winged station will connect the PATH trains to 10 subway lines and will include an underground passage to Battery Park City when it opens in early 2015.
The Port Authority also plans to build a Performing Arts Center designed by Frank Gehry on the north side of the site and a new tower where the Deutsche Bank building once stood to the south, but those projects are still years away from breaking ground.