The World Trade Center
When I was over in New York City last month, I went to the Top of the Rock to get this awesome view of the city. NBC has a camera up there, and they used its footage a lot when covering the September 11 attacks, so I wasn’t surprised that I could see the new World Trade Center under construction off in the distance. As it turns out, you can now see the new WTC from all over the city, just like the original.
Pedestrians can get to the corner of Vesey and Greenwich at Ground Zero, where you can see both of the new buildings clearly. The taller building to the right, 1WTC aka the Freedom Tower is rising where the much smaller 6WTC building used to stand, and 4WTC, the tower on the left, is rising where the smaller original 4 building once stood. Pools now occupy the spaces in the plaza between 1 and 4 where the old Twin Towers had their foundations.
At 1776 feet, 1WTC will be the tallest building in the US. The original 1WTC was the tallest building in the world when it was completed in 1971, but it quickly lost that title when the Sears Tower was finished in Chicago in 1972. The Empire State Building was the tallest in the world before the WTC, and it’s been the tallest in New York since 2001. That’s about to change.
Even in places where you wouldn’t expect it, the streets line up just right to give you an unobstructed view of the tower, in this case from over 10 blocks away at Battery Park.
When I was in New York last summer, 1WTC was only half as tall as it is now, and 4WTC was barely peeking above the roofs of its neighbors. Now a year later, 4 has a presence of its own, and 1WTC soars far above it. The World Trade Center is again dominating Lower Manhattan’s skyline.
Walking up Broadway, one can see that the two new towers are nearly aligned with Trinity Church. The English Gothic style church, built in the 1850s, contrasted enough with the skyscrapers that grew up around it in the early 20th century, let alone with the minimalist midcentury buildings. The sleek and supermodern mirror-glass-clad World Trade Center architecture will provide about as much juxtaposition as you can get.
From the Brooklyn waterfront, the perspective makes the towers not as overpowering, but considering that they’re all the way on the other side of Manhattan they’re still impressive.
Up high on the Manhattan Bridge, the scale of the buildings is more apparent. Three more towers are in the works for the site. Two of them will be taller than 4WTC, but 1WTC will remain the tallest.
From the Manhattan side of the bridge, if you can look past all the graffiti-covered rooftops, 1WTC is still the main attraction.
Back in Brooklyn at night, 1 WTC is much easier to identify, with those dazzling blue-white construction lights showing through the windows.
The construction lights and stunning height of 1WTC are even more apparent from across the Hudson River in New Jersey. I was at Hamilton Park in Weehawken, just across from Midtown, for this one. Downtown Jersey City is the group of buildings on the right.
Once again on Top of the Rock, the Empire State Building stands firm, as it has for the past 81 years. It’s seen the Great Depression, World War II, and the original World Trade Center come and go. Now it’s seeing the new WTC rise from the ashes and take the Empire State’s title as Tallest Building in New York once again.