One World Trade Center officially tallest building in America
The Big Apple reclaimed its crown Tuesday as the home of the United States' tallest building, while New Yorkers who have cheered downtown Manhattan's rebound since 9/11 couldn't be any more proud of the honor.
The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat announced that at an official height of 1,776 feet, One World Trade Center slightly eclipses Chicago's Willis Tower's 1,451 feet for the title of the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.
Over the last few months, members of the council debated the true height of the tower, which symbolically represents the year America declared its independence, trying to determine whether to include its 441-foot spire in the measurements.
They ultimately concluded that it was structurally significant and thus taller than Chicago's skyline Goliath.
"We were very satisfied with the detailed information presented by the [World Trade Center] team, in particular, that which affirmed that the structure on top of the building is meant as a permanent architectural feature, not a piece of functional-technical equipment," Timothy Johnson, the chairman of the CTBUH, said in a statement.
Members of the "Team New York" side of the debate took pride in the title.
Upper East Side accountant Navtej Sandhu, 27, loved the publicity.
"Anytime you say New York has the tallest building in the U.S., it brings more attention to lower Manhattan," said Sandhu, who has fond memories of the original towers because his dad worked there during the '80s and '90s.
Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who will today cut the ribbon at 4 World Trade Center, the first tower to open at the 16-acre site, wholeheartedly agreed.
"The recognition of One World Trade Center as America's tallest building marks another step forward in Lower Manhattan's incredible comeback," he said in a statement.
Catherine McVay Hughes, the chair of Manhattan Community Board 1, which oversees the neighborhood, hailed the title, recalling that "the two towers were always a beacon. You knew where lower Manhattan was."
Jimmy Quevedo, 28, who works in midtown, visited the original World Trade Center when he was a kid and said the title "speaks a lot about what the country has been through."
“It’s a good feeling, for a New Yorker, to know we have the tallest building in the greatest city in the world,” said Kassims “Bobby” Haralambos, who operates a hot dog stand in the shadow of the tower.
Some 9/11 survivors and relatives of victims had mixed feelings about the announcement.
"It doesn't matter to me who has the tallest building, as long as the building is safe," said Bill Doyle, father of Joseph Doyle, a Cantor Fitzgerald employee.
One World Trade Center is set to open sometime next year. (With Sheila Anne Feeney and Newsday)