On May 10, 2013, the final section of the spire was installed atop the new One World Trade Center in New York City. The event brought "1 WTC" to its final height of a patriotic 1,776 feet, more than 11 years after the original tower was destroyed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Now America's tallest building, the skyscraper won't be open for business until 2014, but as this "Tribute in Light" commemoration from September 11, 2012 shows, it's already a breathtaking sight on the New York skyline.
Of course, it wasn't always glittering lights and panoramic wonder. Hard, ugly skeletons have to come before beautiful exteriors can be realized. Here a PATH train slows as it enters the World Trade Center Station amid construction of the Memorial Museum and One World Trade Center.
Nine pieces of steel, parts of the spire for One World Trade Center, make their way on a barge from Port Newark to lower Manhattan in December 2012. There they would be unloaded and installed on top of the tower, which looms large, center-right, in this picture.
Here the last 75-foot section of the 408-foot spire is hoisted onto a temporary platform on the top of the tower on May 2, 2013.
Staring in awe at the finished products, it's easy to forget about the brave construction workers who venture into the clouds to help bring to life the world's tallest buildings. Here, an iron worker leans on a safety fence to look at the New York skyline, after watching the final piece of the spire rise past him to the top of the tower.
The final section of spire is on its way to installation. Its completion brought wild cheers and whistles from the workers who had had a hand in making it all happen.
It won't be open to the public until 2015, but in the works is an observation deck that will offer events, multiple viewing spaces for 360-degree panoramas of the New York City region, and numerous dining options. Here, news media members get a preview of the space.
Here's a taste of what the observation deck will offer -- Manhattan, stretched out as far as the eye can see.
As might be imagined, security was a prime concern for the new One World Trade Center, which has been built to the utmost security and safety standards. Surrounding areas, too, will be under vigilant eyes. These security cameras at the 9/11 Memorial keep watch on the area. Visitors to the site pass through airport-style security checks and are closely monitored by police.
The 9/11 Memorial is comprised of two pools and fountains that sit on the footprints of the old World Trade Center. Those who lost their lives on that blue-sky morning on September 11, 2001 are never far from visitors' thoughts.
During ceremonies on September 11, 2012, this giant American flag was unfurled along the under-construction One World Trade Center, which would soon become the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.