By Erik Badia and Ryan Sit New York Daily News
With the twists of a few final bolts, the steel spire atop One World Trade Center was installed Friday morning — raising the building’s height to a symbolic 1,776 feet.
A sea of construction workers stared into the blue spring sky with pride and delight after the finishing touches were applied about 8 a.m.
Ironworker Warren Smith, 49, said everyone involved understood the significance of the lower Manhattan milestone.
“I was on Broadway, I saw the plane hit the building,” Smith said. “I’m one of the 9/11 workers … It was a shame to see the towers go down, but now I feel good.
“I have a sense of accomplishment seeing it go back up, and I’m a part of it.”
Co-worker Arban Nichols, 62, was left almost speechless as the spire — which had been held in place by a crane — was secured at the top of the new skyscraper.
“I can’t really describe it,” said the East Flatbush ironworker. “It was like seeing America build itself back up again. I’ll be telling my grandchildren about it.”
The last part of the 18-piece spire was installed with little fanfare despite its importance to many. The 9/11 terrorist attacks killed 2,753 [sic, 2,749] in the Twin Towers.
“It’s basically showing (the terrorists), ‘You can’t take America down. We’ll rebuild,’” said Eddie Fackler, who was meeting a friend downtown. “It’s a sense of who we are.”
The 408-foot, 758-ton spire will serve as a world-class broadcast antenna. An LED-powered light on the spire will be visible for miles, and a warning beacon was installed at its top.
“It’s amazing,” said construction worker Lenny Bednare of Forest Hills, Queens. “It’s an honor to be working here. It’s just overwhelming.”
The addition of the spire makes the $3.8 billion One World Trade Center, raised on the old 16-acre trade center site, the tallest structure in the U.S. and third-tallest in the world.
“I think we need it — as a city, as a nation,” said construction worker Mike Prender. “It’s inspiring. It’s good for America.”
The tower is slated to open for business in 2014.
Tenants include the magazine publisher Conde Nast, the government’s General Services Administration and Vantone Holdings China Center, which will provide business space for international companies.
“It’s a great thing going forward and not allowing terrorists to keep us from doing what we need to do,” said Nerida Willson, a U.S. Postal Service employee who works opposite the tower.
“We need those towers. We are the greatest city on Earth.”
One World Trade Center by the numbers:
— $3.8 billion price tag.
— 45,000 tons of steel.
— 4,259 days since 9/11.
— 2014, year of its scheduled opening.
— 1,776 feet tall.
— 758-ton stainless steel spire.
— 104 floors.
— 70 escalators.
— 18 pieces in 408-foot spire.