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New York's One World Trade Center is topped off with spire

On Friday, workers completed the job of assembling the spire, which houses a broadcast attenna, atop the new building. One World Trade Center is now 1,776 feet high.

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One World Trade Center stands at its full height above the New York City skyline in this view from the Heights neighborhood of Jersey City, N.J., Friday, May 10, 2013. A 408-foot spire was set into place at the top of the structure Friday, making the building a symbolic 1,776 feet tall.

Julio Cortez/AP

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A tall, heavy spire was fully installed atop One World Trade Center on Friday, bringing the New York City structure to its symbolic height of 1,776 feet.

Loud applause and cries of joy erupted from construction workers assembled below as the huge, silver spire was gently lowered and secured into place.

"It's a pretty awesome feeling," Juan Estevez said from a temporary platform on the roof of the tower where he and other workers watched the milestone.

"It's a culmination of a tremendous amount of team work ... rebuilding the New York City skyline once again," said Estevez, a project manager for Tishman Construction.

He said the workers around him were "utterly overjoyed."

Installation of the 408-foot, 758-ton spire was completed after pieces of it had been transported to the roof of the building last week. It will serve as a world-class broadcast antenna and also as a beacon to ward off aircraft.

The building is at the northwest corner of the site where the twin World Trade Center towers were destroyed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The 72-story 4 World Trade Center is under construction at the southeast corner of the site.

Lee Ielpi, whose firefighter son died after responding to the attacks, watched workers secure the spire from his office at the nearby 9/11 Tribute Center, which he co-founded.

"The building looks spectacular. ... I'm looking forward to the day when the cranes come down and they light the spire at night," he said. "It's supposed to be a very moving experience."

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the site, said the LED-powered light would be activated in the next few months.

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