- (Photo: Reuters/Ray Stubblebine)
The "Freedom Tower" at the World Trade Center complex in New York City officially topped the Empire State Building's height Monday, making it the tallest building in city and eventually, once the post 9/11 structure is completed, the tallest building in the U.S.
The "Freedom Tower," also known as One World Trade Center (One WTC), surpassed the Empire State Building's height of 1,250 feet when workers put steel columns in place on the structure, located in downtown Manhattan, the site of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Patrick Foye, executive director of NYC's Port Authority, said at a press conference Monday afternoon that One WTC shows the "hope and rebirth" of the U.S., and its ability to bounce back from the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center's towers, both of which were toppled.
"Today, our collective perseverance is reflected with this soaring symbol of fortitude," Foye said at the press conference.
The tower's rank in height among the world's tallest buildings is debatable. According to ABC News, when the tower is complete in 2013 or 2014, it will stand at 1,776 feet with 104 floors. At that point, it will be the tallest building in the U.S., bypassing Chicago's famous Willis Tower (formerly the Sear's Tower) at 1,451 feet.
However, the measurement of this height includes a 408-foot tall satellite needle. Without this extra boost in height, One WTC would stand at 1,368 feet, the same height of the original North Tower of the World Trade Center and shorter than Willis Tower.
According to The Wall Street Journal, if One WTC were to be completed tomorrow, it would be the second tallest building in the world. However, currently there are five towers under construction throughout the world that will surpass One WTC by the time of their completion.
The current tallest building in the world is the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which stands at 2,717 feet tall.
The New York Post reported that the newly constructed WTC building is in competition for tourists with its Midtown counterpart, the Empire State Building.
The owners of the WTC hope to wrangle in visitors by promoting their observation decks and convincing broadcasters to use their tower for antenna signals instead of the Empire State Building's antenna, according to the NY Post.
"We're looking to maximize revenue and maximize the reputation of One World Trade Center," Douglas Durst, who is building the Freedom Tower in partnership with the Port Authority, told The New York Post.
While many see One WTC as a memorial for the lives lost in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, others see it as a chance for renewal and regrowth.
"You've got to get people back to thinking of the trade center not as a site of an attack but as a center of commerce," a source involved with lower Manhattan's reconstruction told the NYC publication
The Empire State Building, built in 1931, offered a congratulatory note to its tall cousin in a statement released to the press.
"The world's most famous office building, the ancestor of all super-tall towers, welcomes our newer, taller cousin to the skyline," the Empire State Building's operators said. "We've watched you grow, and now we salute you."
On Monday night, One WTC will be lit in blue and white to celebrate its surpassing of the Empire State Building's height.
As NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg told WCBS-TV, the effort put in to building the tower required collaboration and patience.
"Lots of people deserve credit, it's taken a long time. But this is probably the most complex construction site any place, ever," said Mayor Bloomberg.