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Spire heads skyward at World Trade Center construction site

May 02, 2013|By Michael Muskal
  • An ironworker holds a rope as the 408-foot spire is hoisted onto a temporary platform on top of One World Trade Center in New York.
An ironworker holds a rope as the 408-foot spire is hoisted onto a temporary… (Spencer Platt / Getty Images )

New York showed its colors on Thursday as flag-draped pieces of the silver spire, designed to be the crown of the reconstructed World Trade Center, were hoisted into the sky.

The final segments were raised through sunny skies to rest on a construction platform for several weeks awaiting final installation. The spire will be part of the transmission facilities for the region’s media outlets and will sit atop what is also known as Freedom Tower. At the tip will be a beacon.

When the 408-foot spire is attached, the new One World Trade Center building will soar 1,776 feet above the ground, a patriotic number designed to make the new building the tallest in the Western Hemisphere and the third-tallest in the world. It is being built at the northwest corner of the site where the World Trade Center’s twin towers stood until they were destroyed in a terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001.

There has always been some controversy about the official rankings on height.

The Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the recognized authority for such designations, has decided that a spire like the one in New York is built into the architectural design of the tower and is part of the structure. An antenna, also used to transmit, is removable and hence doesn’t count in height comparisons.

The symbolic value of Thursday’s action brings the trade center one step closer to completion. The tower is scheduled to be opened in 2014.

“It will give a tremendous indication to people around the entire region, and the world, that we're back and better than ever,” Steven Plate, who is overseeing construction, told the Associated Press.

“It's not just a construction site,” Plate said. “It's truly a mission for all of us.”


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