4 World Trade Center: Last mammoth steel beam set in 72-story tower
4 World Trade Center: BeBe Winans sang "God Bless America" and more than 100 workers signed the final steel beam. 4 World Trade Center will be the first tower rebuilt after the Sept. 11 attacks.
(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
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 gospel superstar BeBe Winans offering a powerful rendition of "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 US 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.