It's Tops. 1 WTC Spire Comes to Town and Gets Some Heavy Lifting

The first piece arrives atop 1 World Trade Center, and seemingly the world. Once assembled, the 408-foot antenna will make the building 1,776 feet tall and provide service to broadcasters in the region. Photo: Port Authority of NY & NJ

“It’s majestic. Almost like a royal carriage,” Heidi Bennett said as a 68-ton section of antenna slowly passed her building on North Moore Street, glowing white in the late-night darkness. “It’s definitely magical.”

One by one, nine pieces of spire, bound for 1 World Trade Center, were offloaded from barge to flatbed at Pier 25 last month and ever so slowly hauled across North Moore Street and down Greenwich, trailed by flashing lights and an entourage of hard hats. From the street and buildings above, some watched in wonder, not knowing what they were seeing but drawn to the almost unearthly sight.

“Last night I looked out my window and that thing was going down the street. Holy s--t! It looked like a space ship all lit up,” said Ted Ryan, who had come out the next night for a closer look at the operation. “It was unbelievable.”

The spire sections, half of the 18 that will be assembled atop the tower, arrived last month following a 1,500-mile journey by barge from Valleyfield, Quebec, where they were manufactured. In five days, all were delivered to their new home, ready to be hoisted.

“We’re getting very close to the end of a long and wonderful journey,” Steve Plate, the Port Authority’s director of World Trade Center construction, said as the first of the sections was about to be raised. “This represents to me an exclamation point on the end of a wonderful project.”

Once installed, a process expected to take three to four months, the 408-foot spire will give the building its 1,776-foot height, making it the tallest structure in the Western Hemisphere.
Eva Eckert admired one of the brightly lit antenna sections going by her on Greenwich Street and considered, scornfully, the tower where it was headed. “The building is nothing special,” she said of the Trade Center site’s tallest structure. “So it needs that antenna.”

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