Anorak: Today, New York City grows taller

1 World Trade Center – aka 1 WTC, aka “Freedom Tower” – is set to surpass the height of the Empire State Building today, making it the tallest building in New York City.

The 1 WTC skyscraper is being built in lower Manhattan to replace the  Twin Towers that were destroyed in the 9/11 attacks. It will offer stunning views of the city, including the Empire State in midtown which, excluding its antenna, has a total height of 1,250 feet.

Tonight, the tower will be lit in blue-and-white colours in celebration of its new height and perhaps in an attempt by its owners to taunt their midtown rivals. The New York Post reports that the 1 World Trade Center owners are “waging an all-out business war against its Midtown cousin”. They’re promoting the building’s observation decks and are trying to attract the broadcasters that currently beam their signals off of the Empire State. When finished, 1 WTC will likely be declared the tallest building the United States. It is expected to rise to 1,776 feet.

Construction on the Empire State was completed on 11 April 1931. It took just one year and 45 days to build. It remained the world’s tallest skyscraper for more than 40 years, until the Twin Towers were constructed in 1972. By contrast, construction on 1 World Trade Center was delayed from 2004 to 2006 and is only expected to open for business in 2013.

But at least the ambitious height of the Big Apple’s newest skyscraper and the rivalry between 1WTC and the Empire State Building shows some of that old New York spirit.