NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- One World Trade Center is claiming the title of New York City's tallest skyscraper.
It was a proud moment for construction workers Monday when just after 2 p.m. they installed two 26-foot steel columns making the unfinished tower just over 1,270 feet tall -- surpassing the height of the Empire State Building by 21 feet.
"One World Trade Center is much more than an iconic symbol for New York, New Jersey and our region, it is a symbol of liberty and pride for our entire country," said Scott Rechler, of the Port Authority Board of Commissioners.
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The 26-foot-long piece of steel changed New York, shifting the highest point from Midtown back to Lower Manhattan, where it was until that terrible morning on September 11, 2001. When the beam was bolted into place Monday, it stretched 21 feet higher in the sky than the Empire State Building.
The army of construction workers has now reached the 100th floor, out of what will be 104 in total, with a large antennae on top that will push the tower to its final height of 1,776 feet. Its footprint will be roughly an acre with the first floors comprised of blast resistant materials and design.
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"The world's most famous office building, the ancestor of all super-tall towers, welcomes our newer, taller cousin to the skyline," the current management of the Empire State Building said in a statement. "We've watched you grow, and now we salute you."
To commemorate the achievement, EarthCam released a time-lapse video of the construction, which you can view here.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the building has been a labor of love for many.
"The latest progress at the World Trade Center is a testament to New Yorkers; strength and resolve; and to our belief in a city that is always reaching upward," he said.
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"The new World Trade Center is more than just a skyscraper: it is a symbol of the enduring spirit of the City and State of New York, representing our commitment to rebuilding stronger than before," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
One World Trade still has more growing to do. Next year, it will top out at 1,776 feet when complete. At that point it will be the tallest building in the U.S., and third tallest in the world.
Out of the ashes and tears on September 11, 2001 rose something completely new. One World Trade Center has been under construction since 2006 at a cost of almost $4 billion. After all the legal and political wrangling, it has now been growing skyward at a rate of about a floor a week.
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In the spirit of something new and progressive rising from the ashes, much of One World Trade Center is being built from recycled materials, and it will have a state-of-the-art fuel-cell power system.
The tower is scheduled to open in late 2013 or early 2014.
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