As of today, the World Trade Center is back as the tallest building in New York City. Construction crews erected steel columns that reach over 1,250 feet high, just edging out the observation deck at the Empire State Building. The skyscraper isn’t expected to reach its full height for at least another year. When finished, the giant monolith will be capped with a 408-foot-tall needle that soars straight into the clouds. If you count the crown, the building will be the tallest in the United States and the third tallest in the world-however, many architects and experts argue against counting spires, antennas and masts that extend far above actual roofs of buildings. These purists will still hold the 108-story Willis Tower in Chicago as the tallest in the United States.
The time lapse video above by EarthCam gives us an idea of the construction so far (click here for a gallery of earlier pictures). When the tower is finished near the end of 2012, it will stand at a symbolic 1,776 feet tall in order to match the year the United States declared its independence.