Video Of The Day: World Trade Center Back On Top of New York’s Skyline

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.

America from above – can you guess the view?

Skyscrapers and towers in The United States may have been overtaken in height by ambitious cities like Dubai, but the country is still home to some of the most awesome views you’ll find anywhere in the world.

Think you know your stuff? Take the quiz (posted after the jump) and prove it! Five towers, five photos – its up to you to guess where the photo was taken.

Gadling Take FIVE (Week of June 18 – June 24)

Heavens! The last weekend in July?! How can that be? Hopefully, those of you in the summer season are finding time to get out there, see the world–even if the world is not much further than the block next door and the weather is cooperating.

Here are five posts about new things in the travel scene.

  • Sean’s post on how e-mailing is getting easier in some parts of Africa due to a new fiber optic cable is good news for travelers and business people–and education.
  • In keeping up with the trend for more environmentally friendly, safe travel, Antarctic tourism is following suit. Kraig’s post tells how.
  • People are smiling more in Paris, according to Scott. It’s not that they have more to be happy about, it’s that they’ve been told to. Find out why.
  • As a Luddite, of sorts–so was Kurt Vonnegut, by the way, I’m befuddled by augmented reality. Jeremy has a handle on it though, so read his version. It’s a wild way to see the world is all I can say.
  • If you’re looking for Sears Tower in Chicago, you won’t find it anymore. You’ll find Willis Tower. As Katie points out Willis Tower is really the Sears Tower. There’s been a name change. It’s true; money can buy you a very very tall building.

Sears Tower to open glass bottom box at 1300 feet

In July, the Sears Tower Skydeck will open “the ledge”, its newest attraction.

The “ledge” is a glass box extending 4.3 feet out over the edge of the 103rd floor, offering an unobstructed view of the city. Up to 5 guests at a time will be able to stand on the inch and a half thick glass.

I have a lot of faith in structural engineers, but I’m just not sure I’d feel entirely comfortable stepping out on this thing? Would you?


Sears Tower to be renamed “Willis Tower”

Times have changed since Chicago’s Sears Tower was first built. Upon its completion in 1973, this 110-story Chicago monolith was proclaimed a modern marvel – a building that planted a massive stake in the ground for Chicago’s, and arguably America’s, architectural and economic dominance. Though the Sears Tower remains an important symbol in 2009, its preeminence in the “World’s Tallest Building” category has changed significantly.

Still, the news earlier this week that the building would soon be renamed as the Willis Tower comes as a surprise. Willis Holdings, a London-based insurance group that occupies more than 150,000 square feet of office space, will take over naming rights to the building in late 2009. This is in contrast to Chicago-based retailer Sears, which no longer leases space in the building and frankly, is struggling merely to stay relevant.

How is everyone reacting to the news? Chicago’s own Mayor Daley has feigned indifference. But coming from this Chicagoan by birth, I find the name change surprisingly affects me on a personal level, as if it was an affront to the pride of my hometown. Perhaps though the name is less important than what the building represents. To quote the great William Shakespeare, “What’s in a name?” Is anyone, tourist or local, likely to start calling the building the Willis Tower? I doubt it. Believe it or not, the Sears Tower is not the first Chicago landmark to be taken over by out-of-towners, and Chicagoans have learned to continue on with their lives.

Maybe it’s just a sign of the times – in an increasingly global world, it’s harder and harder for something truly “local” to remain that way. Whether it’s the authentic Japanese sushi you’re eating in New York or the London souvenir hoodie that was made in China. Travel is often more about your expectations of what a destination or landmark should be like, rather than taking it for what it truly is. For me at least, whether it’s called the Willis or Sears Tower, the next time I gaze up at that magnificent building I’ll see what I want: a landmark that continues to be truly one-of-a-kind.

[Via Buzzfeed]