By ANDREW KLAPPHOLZ
The (Westchester, N.Y.) Journal News
NEW YORK -- Just after 2 p.m. Monday, two construction workers fastened a steel beam to the top of 1 World Trade Center, making the rising tower the tallest in New York City.
The process took only a few minutes, but the milestone was a decade in the making. As the crane released the beam, a round of applause broke out on the 100th floor where it was installed. Cheers also reigned in the galley assembled on the 71st floor where members of the media and the development group watched on a live video feed overlooking the Empire State Building.
The milestone is a major step in the symbolic recovery of New York -- and the nation. This afternoon, 1 World Trade Center replaced the Empire State Building, which has held the tallest building designation since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The tower now reaches a height of 1,271 feet. It is due to be completed this summer.
The new building towers over a neighborhood that is bustling anew.
When it was the pinnacle of American and global finance in the days of the Twin Towers, lower Manhattan all but shut down by 5 p.m. each day and slept through the weekends. Today, the redeveloped area is bustling 24/7.
The neighborhood has become something of a "Times Square South," full of tourists, retail, new apartment complexes and, yes, even a thriving nightlife -- not to mention the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Before the Sept. 11 attacks, the center's Twin Towers were home to such financial powerhouses as Morgan Stanley and Cantor Fitzgerald. The new tenants are an eclectic mix.
The Conde Naste media company will be the biggest tenant in 1 World Trade Center.
"We all couldn't be happier," said Peter Davidson, executive director of the Empire State Development Corp. and board member of the Lower Manhattan Devlopment Corp., which was charged with revitalizing the neighborhood after the attacks.
"It's a hip and cutting-edge tenant," he said of Conde Naste. "Their workers are young and educated."
Workers in fields outside of finance won't just be filling up office space. They're also moving into the neighborhood.
"Lower Manhattan is the fastest-growing area of New York City in terms of residential construction," Davidson said. "It was the financial center before. That was great, but at 5, it shut down and there was no life after 5."
Now, on places like Stone Street -- a cobblestone side road loaded with bars and restaurants -- the opening bell rings at 5 p.m.
The neighborhood is expected to gel over the next couple of years, especially when the Empire State Development Corp. completes a $3 billion transit hub at the trade center and the $400 million World Trade Center Museum opens for an expected 3 million to 5 million tourists a year.
The Journal News