Hoisting a spire to 1,776 feet in New York

Published May 3, 2013 at 05:00AM

Adorned with an American flag, the last pieces of a silver spire were hoisted to the top of One World Trade Center on Thursday. The final two segments of the 408-foot spire will rest on a construction platform for several weeks until the entire needle is permanently installed. With the spire as its crown, the trade center rises 1,776 feet high, symbolizing the birth of the nation in 1776.

As it rose slowly into the sky, construction workers inside the building clustered around unfinished floor ledges to get a better glimpse of it. “It will give a tremendous indication to people around the entire region, and the world, that we’re back and better than ever,” said Steven Plate, who is overseeing construction of the World Trade Center, located at the northwest corner of the site where the twin towers were destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001. The new tower is slated to open for business in 2014.

With the additional 408 feet, the building would be the tallest in the U.S. and third-tallest in the world, although building experts dispute whether the spire is actually an antenna — a crucial distinction in terms of measuring the building’s height. Without the spire, One World Trade Center would actually be shorter than the Willis (Sears) Tower in Chicago.