NEW YORK (AP) — A final steel beam was lifted Monday atop a new World Trade Center skyscraper — the first expected to open at the site next year since the twin towers were decimated on 9/11.
With BeBe Winans singing "God Bless America," workers raised their hardhats in tribute as the mammoth beam rose slowly into the Manhattan sky, swaying from a steel rope hoisted by a crane.
A U.S. flag attached to the bottom of the beam fluttered above several hundred spectators at the topping-off ceremony.
"Ten years later, it's pretty remarkable," said a teary-eyed Sally Rexach, a nurse who aids workers constructing 4 World Trade Center.
She was at ground zero just after Sept. 11, 2001, supporting workers who combed through the smoking debris in search of human remains.
"This is a very proud moment; it's full circle," she said, glancing across the 16-acre site where the uncompleted One World Trade Center in the northwest corner is already New York's tallest structure.
In the southeast corner facing the 9/11 memorial, the 72-story tower that was topped off Monday is to open for business in the fall of 2013 — the first occupied high-rise at the new trade center site since the Sept. 11 attacks.
The 1.8-million-square-foot skyscraper, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Fumihiko Maki, will primarily house commercial offices. A third of the office space will be set aside for the headquarters of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the site.
An atrium will house shops and restaurants.
At the moment, it is the second tallest skyscraper on the rebuilt World Trade Center site after One World Trade Center, although two others towers eventually will surpass the height of 4 World Trade Center.
On Monday, more than 100 construction workers signed their names to the white-painted steel, with elected officials and developer Larry Silverstein looking on.
"Everybody's put their blood, sweat and tears into this," said John Rzeznik, a project manager at the site.
Minutes earlier, in the half-completed, marble-graced entrance, Winans opened the ceremony by singing the national anthem. Listening to it, some construction workers were moved to hold their hardhats over their hearts.
Silverstein told those assembled that his goal as a developer was "to give New Yorkers back the city terrorists tried to take away."
After years of funding and planning disagreements that at times threatened progress at the site, Silverstein acknowledged, "It's been a very tough time." But, he added, "I've always believed in downtown New York."
In his remarks, New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver remembered that certain naysayers had warned lower Manhattan "was dead" after the terror attack.
"But Larry, you were right," Silver said. "Never bet against New York."
Some workers wore yellow T-shirts bearing the words, "Yes we can."
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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