This afternoon, One World Trade Center will pass the Empire State Building as New York’s tallest skyscraper, reclaiming the city’s skyline and reviving the race for height that originated in Manhattan but which was resolved with the building of the World Trade Centerover 40 years ago. In just a few hours, workers are scheduled to install the first column of the 100th floor of the tower’s steel frame, which will rise 1,250 feet in the air, peaking just 21 feet over the crest of the Empire State Building’s observation deck.
Upon its expected completion in 2014, One World Trade Center will stand 1,776 feet and will become the country’s tallest structure, a title which currently belongs to Chicago’s 1,450 foot-tall Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower). Much jubilation greeted the announcement for many reasons–the director of the Port Authority giddily anticipated the views from the tower’s future observation platform, while architect David Childs welcomed the progression of construction as a sign towards the eventual rehabilitation of Lower Manhattan’s urban life. Yet, today’s events can hardly be seen as a milestone, says author and chronicler of New York’s skyscrapers Neal Bascomb, who told the NYTimes
that the construction is “kind of like competing against a ghost.”