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One World Trade Center Now New York City's Tallest Building

A view shows One World Trade Center (L) in New York City, April 30, 2012. The One World Trade Center, built on the Ground Zero site of the fallen World Trade Center towers, officially surpassed the Empire State Building as the tallest building in New York

One World Trade Center, the skyscraper being built in Lower Manhattan to replace the World Trade Center twin towers destroyed by terrorists in 2001, is now the tallest structure in New York City.

On Monday workers erected a steel column on One World Trade Center that poked through the sky at 381 meters, slightly higher than the Empire State Building, which has dominated the New York skyline since the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Kimberly, a lifelong New Yorker, says the new record has special significance.

“It is just a wonderful thing to see, especially after all that has happened, and the healing, and the process, and the time that it took," she said.

For several years after the rubble of the twin towers was removed, the area was an empty hole in the ground as government officials and private developers debated reconstruction plans. But since a compromise was reached, the new building, often called Freedom Tower, has been rising an average of about one floor per week toward its goal of 104 stories.

Tomek, an attorney from Warsaw, Poland, says the initial delay was minor.

“You know, it has been only 11 years," he said. "And from all the rubble and the rubbish, you managed to rebuild it. And it is again showing the power of America.”

With the collapse of the twin towers, the Empire State Building reclaimed the title as the city’s tallest building. It was the world’s tallest structure for more than 40 years after its construction in 1931.

A car dealer from Atlanta, Georgia, Brad Hanson, says he likes the rivalry between New York’s two major skyscraper districts - downtown and midtown.

“It is good to see downtown get the skyscraper back," he said. "The whole landscape of the area has changed since the towers went down, but now it is back. I think it is cool.”

Tomek, the visiting Polish attorney, says he feels a bit sorry the Empire State Building has lost the record. But he notes that the view from its observation deck will be even better with completion of One World Trade Center next year.

One World Trade Center will also be North America’s tallest building at 541 meters. That translates to 1,776 feet, a number specifically chosen to coincide with the year the United States declared its independence from Britain.