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World Trade Center: A 2014 update

Updated on May 21, 2014

Spire raising at Ground Zero causes tears to fall; cheers to rise

This 2012 photo shows the tower dominating the lower Manhattan skyline.
This 2012 photo shows the tower dominating the lower Manhattan skyline. | Source

The WTC's Star Spangled Spire


One WTC Video Time Lapse

It was a ceremony these macho construction men had been through before. But this one was different. When the flag draped spire of One World Trade Center was hoisted into place over Ground Zero, some of the men shed a tear, while others cheered or took pictures.

All is quiet today on the street next to One World Trade Center as work continues inside. The scene differs from May 2, 2013, when seemingly every head was tilted up watching the spire slowly moved into place.

The crane operator took 40 minutes to carefully lift the 22-ton spire 104-stories to the building’s top. The event marked a major step in the rebirth of downtown New York, a dozen years after 9/11.

One of those who stood transfixed as he looked up and watched the 75-feet tall structure being moved into place was construction worker James Barrows. “Seeing the American flag, my eye gets teary,” he admitted to the New York Daily News. “It means a lot,” Barrows said. “New York needs it. America needs it.”

In the weeks after this event, workers attached the spire containing TV antennas to One World Trade Center bringing the building to a symbolic 1,776 feet tall and making it the tallest building in the U.S.

The spire has a communications platform filled with radio and television transmission equipment. It also contains 288 50-watt LED modules that can be seen 50 miles away – on a clear night. In the fall of 2013, the spire's state-of-the-art lighting unit was illuminated in red, white and blue and the beacon at its summit was seen for miles.

Memorials and offices share the new World Trade Center site


Numerous security measures at One World Trade Center

With an eye on future terrorist attacks, major safety and security improvements are incorporated in the design of the new building, known as 1 World Trade. These features include:

  • 3-foot thick reinforced concrete walls on all stairwells, elevator shafts, risers and sprinkler systems.
  • a set of stairwells has been dedicated exclusively for the use of firefighters.
  • biological and chemical filters in the ventilation system.
  • windows on the side of the building facing West Street are equipped with specially tempered blast-resistant plastic, which looks nearly the same as the glass used on the rest of the building’s exterior.

The terrain at Ground Zero has changed dramatically in the last few years. In 2012, the building broke through the New York City skyline, a pair of memorial pools and a park was completed.

However, the opening of the underground museum was delayed when seven feet of water poured into the facility after Hurricane Sandy hit New York in October 2012. The museum opened May 2014. (See more details below.)

Soon after the 9/11 attacks, President George W. Bush, New York Governor George Pataki and NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani came to Ground Zero and vowed to rebuild the World Trade Center.

However, the project stalled for a long time because of bickering be­tween numerous groups (families of the 9/11 victims, the Port Authority- owners of the 16 acres site, govern­ment leaders and community lead­ers). They couldn't decide on how this special space should be devel­oped.

The squabble and the design process lasted for over 40 months. An original thousand proposals were narrowed down to 50, then six. Along the way, these plans were inspected, discussed and redesigned. In June 2005, a final design was selected. But New Yorkers remained frustrated for three more years before they saw evidence of construction.

This lengthy examination of proposals led to a two-prong project. The original World Trade site was divided into a green area for remembering and a massive skyscraper for commerce.

If you visit this historic site, here's what you'll find:

This November 2013 photo shows One World Trade illuminated at night.
This November 2013 photo shows One World Trade illuminated at night. | Source

The Main Skyscraper

UPDATE- Exterior work: Complete. Interior work: Continues. Opening: Late 2014.


This $3.8 billion, 3 million square foot building is called One World Trade Center or simply 1 World Trade. The building, formerly called the Freedom Tower, contains 2.6 million square feet of office space, (about half of it will be the head­quarters of publisher Condé Nast), restaurants, a below-ground retail complex and underground access to other buildings and a mass transit hub.

An observation deck is located 1,362 feet above the ground (at 100 stories). The floor to ceiling glass windows offer spectacular 360-degree views of New York City. The skyscaper also houses a two-level broadcast facility, There's a square glass parapet at 1,368 feet, the height of the original Twin Towers. When the spire was bolted on top of the structure in 2013 the building topped off at 1,776 feet high, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and the third-tallest building in the world.

President Barack Obama has visited the site several times, most notably in 2011 when he laid a wreath at the WTC soon after SEAL Team 6 killed Osama bin Laden.

During a June 2012 visit the president and other dignitaries signed the 28 feet long, 6 ton steel beam that topped off 1 World Trade. Above his name, President Obama wrote, "We remember. We rebuild. We come back stronger!" That beam was hoisted into place on Aug. 17, 2012. It marked the end of steel construction at 1 World Trade.

The building was substantially completed in late 2013 at least that's the view from the sidewalk. Work is continuing on interior walls, utilities and office furnishings. The building is expected to open in 2014.

The Memorial Pools define the footprints of Towers 1 & 2.
The Memorial Pools define the footprints of Towers 1 & 2. | Source

Video view of "Survivor Tree"

The 9/11 Memorial

UPDATE- Opened: 2011



The memorial consists of a 6-acre tree lined park and two shallow pools forming the footprints of the former north and south towers.

The 2,977 names of the 9/11 victims are inscribed in a short bronze wall along the perimeter of the pools. Waterfalls cascading down their sides symbolize the loss of life and the physical void left by the terrorist attacks, according to the pools designer architect Michael Arad.

The memorial plaza contains over 400 trees, including the “Survivor Tree.” It was recovered from the rubble in 2001 and nursed back to life.

At the time it was salvaged, the badly burned 8-feet tall callery pear tree had only one living branch. The ash covered tree was brought to a Bronx nursery where it recovered. The tree grew to a height of 30-feet and in 2010 it was replanted at the WTC site as a symbol of hope and rebirth.

The 9/11 Memorial officially opened to the public on Sept. 12, 2011. In its first year more than 4.5 million people visited the site.

$2 visitor passes are required to visit the Memorial Pools. To request a pass, check the 9/11 Memorial's FAQ webpage.

The back of the 9/11 Museum is located behind one Memorial Pool.
The back of the 9/11 Museum is located behind one Memorial Pool. | Source

9/11 Museum by the numbers

  • 2 firetrucks
  • 3 parts of the exhibit (the day, before 9/11 and after 9/11)
  • 580 hours of video
  • 1,995 oral histories
  • 12,500 artifacts

The tridents are visible in the 9-11 Museum
The tridents are visible in the 9-11 Museum | Source
The tridents dominate the entrance to 9-11 Museum in this architect's rendering.
The tridents dominate the entrance to 9-11 Museum in this architect's rendering. | Source

WTC project by the numbers

  • 5 express elevator in 1 WTC
  • 6 office buildings in the World Trade Center complex
  • 16 acres is the size of the World Trade Center complex
  • 30 foot waterfalls in each pool
  • 45 seconds is how fast the express elevators can reach the top
  • 71 elevators in 1 WTC
  • 104 floors – 1,368 feet
  • 400+ Swamp White Oaks are planted in the Memorial Plaza
  • 1,362 feet is the height of the observation deck
  • 1,776 feet is the height to the top of the spire
  • 2,500+ people worked on the 1 WTC project every day
  • 45,000 tons of steel is in 1 WTC – enough to build six Eiffel Towers
  • 450,000 gallons of water is contained in each Memorial Pool
  • $700 million is the current cost of the 9/11 Museum
  • 2.6 million sq. ft.of floor space
  • 3 million visitors annually are expected to visit WTC
  • 4.5 million people visited the 9/11 Memorial its first year
  • $3.8 billion is the cost of 1 World Trade's construction

The 9/11 Museum

UPDATE- Opened: May 2014


Multimedia look at museum

Visitors will enter the underground museum through an angular pavilion designed to resemble a nearly de­stroyed building, mirroring the attacks of 9/11.

Using visuals and sound recordings, the museum tells the story of the terrorist attacks that leveled the two towers on Sept. 11, 2001 and it memorializes the 2,977 people killed that day. Photos of the victims cover the walls of a gallery. Elsewhere visitors can use touch screens to see biographical portraits of these people.

The massive 110,000-square-foot museum extends seven stories underground to the bedrock. Once you reach the bottom the museum expands to encompass the property under the park and pools.

Just inside the museum's tall glass and steel atrium are two enormous 90-feet tall steel columns or tridents that survived the terrorist attacks and came to sym­bolize endurance in the face of catas­trophe.

The tridents are among the larger items on display, also included are a twisted and charred fire truck, a concrete "Survivors Staircase," which hundreds of people used to escape from the World Trade Center and a portion of a jet that the terrorist used as a massive weapon. There's also a huge cross formed from steel beams, which was discovered in the rubble.

The museum's more than 12,000 artifacts include numerous small items unearthed from the Ground Zero debris. There are several helmets and hats worn by firefighters and policemen, a rumpled and charred wallet, a partially melted phone and a rag-doll.

Also on display are numerous images and audio tapes, such as photos of firefighters heading into the towers and recordings of last phone calls between loved ones.

Journalists, who have previewed the facility, caution that the sights and sounds visitors encounter in the museum will trigger an emotional response, likely to bring many people to tears.

The museum "delivers a gut-punch experience," explained The New York Times’ Holland Cotter. "It’s emotionally overwhelming, particularly, I expect, for New Yorkers who were in the city on that apocalyptic September day."

The reporter notes that the most devastating materials, "like video stills of people leaping from the towers, are set in alcoves with advisory notices, but even things not usually considered shocking can leave you dumbstruck."

The layout of the museum has several exits throughout the facility that allow visitors to decide how much of the most emotional exhibits they wish to experience. The museum designers also have included boxes of tissues throughout the displays, which visitors may use.


Admission tickets are $24 ($18 for seniors, veterans and college students). They are available at The museum operates using a timed reservation system. Museum tickets include access to the 9/11 Memorial Pools.

The building's $700 million has been funded by a foundation with monies coming from local, state and federal governments and individual donations.

With annual museum operating cost projected to be $60 million a year, the foundation made a controversial decision to charge an admission fee of $24. A proposal to take donations, rather than charge admission, was rejected by the foundation. Many NYC officials and 9/11 families complained about this decision. The museum then announced that it will have a free night on Tuesdays (5 to 8 pm) when no admission will be charged.

About 2 million annual visitors are expected at the 9/11 Museum.

Other WTC Towers

Five smaller office buildings will be built circling the memorial site. Four are under construction and are scheduled to open by 2016.

UPDATE: 4 World Trade was topped off on June 25, 2012 and opened in November 2013. This 72-story building, which will eventually be home to the Port Authority, features a stunning 46 by 150 feet lobby that looks out onto the 9/11 Memorial. –TDowling

© 2013 Thomas Dowling


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    • TDowling profile imageAUTHOR

      Thomas Dowling 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for the feedback, chateaudumer.

      While you're in the area, walk over and get a drink or a bite to eat at O'Hara's Restaurant and Pub, 120 Cedar Street -- Corner of Greenwich Street. It's a great Irish pub that served as a respite for the policemen, firemen and construction workers who worked on the rescue and salvage operation at Ground Zero. Notice the various patches on display at the bar contributed by these men. And ask the bartender to see their 9/11 scrapbook.

      Peace. -TDowling

    • chateaudumer profile image

      David B Katague 

      4 years ago from Northern California and the Philippines

      I enjoyed reading this hub-very informative and looking forward to visit the place. The last time I visited WTC was in 2000 prior to the bombing .


    • SpaceShanty profile image


      5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Congratulations on HOTH!

      What are your thoughts on why WTC 7 collapsed like WTC 1 & 2 even though it was not hit by any planes?

    • cmoneyspinner1tf profile image

      Treathyl FOX 

      5 years ago from Austin, Texas

      Thanks so much for publishing this! Makes me proud to be an American.

      I want borrow and paraphrase a quote I heard in a movie once: "Americans are a hearty people!" And for sure, out of all the Americans, New Yorkers know how to bounce back!! Whoop! Whoop! :)

    • TDowling profile imageAUTHOR

      Thomas Dowling 

      5 years ago from Florida

      You guys are taking my breath away. I'm so appreciative of all your wonderful remarks and so happy to be in the Hub community.

      Thanks. -TD

    • Toytasting profile image

      Toy Tasting 

      5 years ago from Mumbai

      TDowling, this is an awesome post. I really liked the WTC by numbers section. Congratulations for Hub Of The Day, well deserved. Cheers :)

    • krrish151 profile image


      5 years ago

      Really awesome! Thanks for showing me this beautiful post just after entering into my hub village. I'll surely be watching on this title now onward.

    • erorantes profile image

      Ana Maria Orantes 

      5 years ago from Miami Florida

      Mr. TDowling. I like your information on your article. Thank you for spending the time to share it with all of us that read in hubpages. I'm looking forward reading more of your articles.

    • luisMier profile image


      5 years ago

      Beautiful.Really it make us take deep breath when we remember the old building.

    • Tom Schumacher profile image

      Tom Schumacher 

      5 years ago from Huntington Beach, CA

      Nice Hub! In 2008 while visiting New York I toured the site of the Twin Towers. It was a surreal experience to say the least. Literally it looked like two big holes in the earth filled with construction crews, equipment, rock, earth and concrete. Mangled steel from one of the buildings stood as a reminder of 9/11, and the American flag attached at the top resembled our courage, sacrifice, and resolve. Hopefully people who read your hub comprehend that freedom isn't free. Thanks for sharing! Voted up.

    • moncrieff profile image


      5 years ago from New York, NY

      A well-researched hub on the subject. Looking forward visiting the museum when it will open. Thank you!

    • Que Scout profile image

      Stephen Hodgkinson 

      5 years ago from Sydney Australia

      TDowling - Thanks

      A shining example the new WTC is in the face of the world community.

      It reflects a great nation and how they dealt with evil starring them in the face. The new works stand as a testament of how the USA has taken the bad and made it good.

      More importantly is the integration of memorials which will stand the test of time - Lest We Forget.

    • RTalloni profile image


      5 years ago from the short journey

      Such an interesting post--thanks! And congrats on your Hub of the Day award for a thoroughly informative piece.

    • Night Magic profile image

      Night Magic 

      5 years ago from Canada

      You did a fantastic job & definitely deserve HotD. Great info.

    • TDowling profile imageAUTHOR

      Thomas Dowling 

      5 years ago from Florida

      Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I appreciate all the wonderful comments and congratulations about this article being chosen Hub of the Day.

      It's strange. We had a problem with our home network today and I didn't go to my email until late in the day and there were two pages of Hub messages related to the HOTD. WOW!

      I'm honored. -TD

    • miss_jkim profile image


      5 years ago

      Very well written article, great information and pictures. I look forward to visiting New York and this site one day.

      Voted Up!

    • rose-the planner profile image

      rose-the planner 

      5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

      Congratulations on HOTD, well deserved. I think this is awesome and I believe that this is symbolic because it is a testament to the resilience of the American people. Very insightful! Thank you for sharing. (Voted Up) -Rose

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 

      5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Congrats on getting HOTD for such a detailed hub on an important topic! Well done.

    • ComfortB profile image

      Comfort Babatola 

      5 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      Came back to say congrats on the HOTD award. Great job!

    • AlvinTay profile image

      Alvin Tay Kong Wei 

      5 years ago from Singapore

      Interesting Hub. It just let us get updated with the latest building stages of the WTC

    • Nancy Owens profile image

      Nancy Owens 

      5 years ago from USA

      Congratulations on having your Hub chosen as a Hub of the Day. Great Job!

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      5 years ago from Germany

      Congrats on the HOTD award! It is a very comprehensive and informative hub. 9/11 remains in our minds and hearts. Even though I was very far from New York at that time and just looking at the telly, I felt the tragic suffering of the people especially those who lost their relatives and friends. I hope the victims rest in peace with Gods help. Thanks for sharing this. Voted up and awesome.

    • starbright profile image

      Lucy Jones 

      5 years ago from Scandinavia

      This day is remembered so well even though we are so many kilometers away from this memorable site and have no immediate relation to the place. The new site has been constructed with such dignity and beauty, with care, deep emotion and the ability to move on. Thanks to all those that had a hand in making this place one that will be remembered for all time and in remembrance to every one of those that paid the highest price. Many thanks for sharing. Voted and shared.

    • queerlyobscure profile image

      Cecil Wilde 

      5 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      It's so important to rebuild after a tragedy and what they're doing in New York is such a lovely balance between remembering and moving on. This is a great article.

    • profile image

      Syafiq Ajis 

      5 years ago

      Beautiful scene ! nice building.. hope more strong than before. Let's Enjoy it !

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 

      5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      It was devastating to see the Twin towers fall. Now that a new building will rise, we will all cheer. It's more than just a building. It's a symbol of hope for everyone.

    • Beata Stasak profile image

      Beata Stasak 

      5 years ago from Western Australia

      Beautiful article, giving us all hope, thank you:)

    • johnr54 profile image

      Joanie Ruppel 

      5 years ago from Texas

      Thanks for the great update. I do not get to NYC very often so it's nice to see this from a person's POV instead of the media.

    • TDowling profile imageAUTHOR

      Thomas Dowling 

      5 years ago from Florida

      Thanks, ComfortB. Enjoy the Big Apple.

    • ComfortB profile image

      Comfort Babatola 

      5 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      It was sad to see the Twin Towers brought down, but watching the One WTC go up in the above video, priceless. Will be in New York in a few weeks, I'll be sure to take lots of pics. Thanks for sharing this.

      Voted up and beautiful.

    • TDowling profile imageAUTHOR

      Thomas Dowling 

      5 years ago from Florida

      Thanks very much, Lynda.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Great article Tom.

    • TDowling profile imageAUTHOR

      Thomas Dowling 

      5 years ago from Florida

      Yup. I understand there's a tavern nearby that has a lot of history. Do you know its name?

    • profile image

      Brian M 

      5 years ago

      Fantastic article. Can't wait to get up there to see the finished tower and visit the museum.


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