Last week, President Obama visited 1 World Trade Center for an update on the project’s progress. He gave a speech and signed the beam that would top the country’s maybe-tallest tower. It would still be some time until the beam was hoisted into place.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the site, 4 World Trade Center was quietly rising. Today, Silverstein Properties announced that the tower will have its topping out ceremony this Monday, when the building reaches its final height of 974 feet.
What about 1 World Trade Center? The Port Authority did not respond to requests for comment as to when its topping out ceremony might be, but a World Trade Center source said it could come as early as Tuesday.
When building buildings, especially symbolic ones, every little milestone tends to be freighted with attention. The building reaches street level. The building is halfway. It has its first glass. It has reached a hundred stories. It is taller than any other.
This is ignoring dozens of other benchmarks, no doubt. Whether we want to or not, no one can help but care deeply about these projects.
But in the construction industry, only three really count: groundbreaking, topping out, opening. We are about to get two of those at the most watched construction project since the Tower of Babel. Does it matter who gets there first? With their varying heights, timelines, designs, delays, developers, interests and complexities, it would be a mistake to compare these two just because they are a few hundred yards apart and are the remnants of the same terrorist attack.
If anything, this is a happy coincidence, another moment of celebration at a site where once there was only mourning, another step closer to the World Trade Center just being another piece of New York again.