Most of us weren’t drifting over Manhattan at an altitude of 243 mi. (390 km) on March 11 at 8:09 AM, but Anatoly Ivanishin and the other crewmembers of the International Space Station were. Ivanishin had a camera with a 1,200 mm lens in his hand and he snapped this image of what he saw below. It was a Sunday morning, so the streets were quiet—though that kind of detail would not have been discernible from orbit. The skies were clear, however, and that was what allowed such a detailed, almost pointillist portrait to be captured. The picture is taken with north at the left, and as you get your bearings, other landmarks become clear. Central Park is the long grassy rectangle in the middle of Manhattan. The waterway at the bottom is, of course, the Hudson River, with Hoboken and the other towns of eastern New Jersey lining the shore. The LaGuardia Airport runways are visible at the top of the image near the left side.
Most poignant—if least conspicuous—are the sawtooth shadows extending from the southwest edge of Manhattan into the Hudson. The longest tooth of them all is cast by the new World Trade tower, which on April 30, the same day NASA released the image to TIME, once again became the tallest building in New York. The Empire State Building, which regained the crown on Sept. 11, 2001, now trails the new building—which stands at 1,271 ft. (387 m)—by 21 ft. (6.4 m). The World Trade tower will get much taller (and the shadow will get much longer) still, when it finally tops out at 1,776 ft. (541 m) sometime next year. The decade-old wound in lower Manhattan has not completely closed, but it’s close—and even from space, that healing shows.
Correction: an earlier version of this post identified the astronaut who took this photograph as Don Pettit.
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