Inching Past the Empire State Building
TOP: Construction on One World Trade Center will be completed in 2014. (Mark Lennihan / AP Images)
BOTTOM: One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the background, surpasses the Empire State Building in height. (Michael Nagle / The New York Times / Redux)
When the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers fell on September 11, 2001, New York City’s skyline was changed dramatically. Now it has shifted once again.
“Today, our city has a new tallest building,” announced New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Monday.
The new One World Trade Center tower, under construction on land near where the World Trade Center once stood, inched above all of New York’s other buildings on Monday afternoon. Columns were added that brought the tower to 1,271 feet—21 feet higher than the Empire State Building, the city’s tallest skyscraper since the Twin Towers were destroyed.
On the day known as 9/11, terrorists flew two hijacked planes into the Twin Towers, then the city’s tallest buildings. The crashes were part of the largest attack on American soil in the country’s history.
The area where the towers once stood has since become known as Ground Zero. After the attacks, it became a memorial where visitors remember those whose lives were lost on that tragic day. Watching the new tower rise slowly from Ground Zero has been emotional for many New Yorkers who saw the Twin Towers fall.
MEASURING A SKYSCRAPER
The World Trade Center first surpassed the height of the Empire State Building on October 19, 1970. For nearly 40 years, the Empire State Building had been the tallest tower in the world.
“The world’s most famous office building, the ancestor of all supertall towers, welcomes our newer, taller cousin to the skyline,” the owners of the Empire State Building said in a statement to reporters on Monday. “We’ve watched you grow, and now we salute you.”
Construction on One World Trade Center will not be complete until 2014. When finished, the building will reach 1,368 feet—the height of the original Twin Towers.
A 408-foot antenna planned for the top of the building will bring its final height to 1,776 feet. That will make One World Trade Center taller than Chicago’s Willis Tower, currently the tallest building in the U.S. (The number 1,776 is also meaningful, because America officially became a nation by declaring independence from British rule in the year 1776.)
There are many ways to measure a building, and some argue that an antenna should not be counted. Once residents and businesses occupy One World Trade Center, its height will be eligible to be officially judged by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.