Last spire piece reaches top of 1 W.T.C.— assembly required

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The last two pieces of W.T.C.’s spire lifted overhead, decked with the star-spangled banner. Downtown Express photo by Kaitlyn Meade.

Sun gleamed from the last two pieces of the spire Thursday morning as they were lifted to their rightful place atop 1 World Trade Center. Once installed, the 408 foot spire will bring the building to its symbolic height of 1,776 feet, making it arguably the tallest tower in the Western Hemisphere.

Piece 17 and 18 are the last pieces to be brought up, completing a journey that began when the steel was shipped 1,500 nautical miles from Valleyfield, Quebec to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in Lower Manhattan and hoisted piece by piece starting in December 2012. They were scheduled to be hoisted on Monday, but had to be postponed due to weather.

“It’s a mission for all of us…” said Steve Plate, head of construction on the W.T.C. site for the authority. “At the end of the day, when evil events happen, the goodness of people transcends in a very special way in a good way to shine a bright light on the site like this that shows how people will rally together to bring out the best in people.”

With three communication rings, the spire will serve a state-of-the-art broadcast facility inside 1 W.T.C., and is topped by a beacon.

Controversy over whether the spire can be counted as “architecturally significant” or simply as an antennae — which is not part of the total height — will determine if 1 W.T.C., a k a Freedom Tower, can be called the tallest building in America. The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, based in Chicago, is waiting to see the final design of the spire before it makes its judgment. If it decides that the height should be counted at the top floor, 1 W.T.C. Will be the third tallest building behind two Chicago skyscrapers — Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) and the Trump International Hotel & Tower.

Tallest building or not, the day was an iconic one. Scattered applause broke out among construction workers gathering to watch the piece beginning to rise.

“To see that last piece go up is a real honor,” said George Meritt, who said he will have spent 40 years in construction in September, and that this was a good “last hurrah.”

The actual installation of the spire will take place at a “later date,” said an official with the Port, which owns the site. Construction workers at the W.T.C. said it was tentatively scheduled for May 8, but that it all depends on the weather.

“It could be snowing up there and fine down here, or vice versa. It could be above the clouds while it’s raining on us down here. It’s that tall,” said Jim Laug, who said he had been working on the W.T.C. for 4 years and said he thought it was a good thing that the milestone was marked.

“Shows you that we’re vibrant, that we can make it back stronger,” he said.

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6 Responses to Last spire piece reaches top of 1 W.T.C.— assembly required

  1. You mean 1776 feet, right? Great shots!

  2. Joy from Brooklyn

    Towering symbol of the height of arrogance, animosity and self-will on the part of those who deliberately refused to rebuild what really should be there… as shown on the hard hat in the foreground.
    Oh… but better to put two twin flushing (and I DON'T mean Flushing) abysses where the towers stood.
    PS: The same people who denied a grieving city what the terrorists destroyed, to this day, still hold that landfill with unidentified 9/11 human remains in the garbage dump in Staten Island, refusing to release them to the 9/11 families.
    "We will never forget." Remember that quote?

  3. @ Joy: With regard to rebuilding the Twin Towers,
    1. They were outdated by the time they were completed, architecturally, as well as an urban planning failure.
    2. They were unsafe for both attacks due to #1.
    3. 25,000 to 50,000 will visit the WTC every day. It would be the height of arrogance to not have a significant memorial. It would be considered uncivilized by 99.99% of the world. I urge you to experience the Memorial Waterfalls and Reflecting pools. They are widely regarded as a success. Calling them toilets is grievous. They are great works of art. As such, they inspire many significant meanings and feelings.
    4. Your point about searching for the victims and heroes is valid, but let’s celebrate one day, please. We need good news. Good things happen. 98% of us think this is good. We feel many things on such a day, but please open yourself up to change to what is positive. Join us, please, Joy.
    I want to take you to the Memorial to further interpret the Memorial. With or without me, give it a chance.

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