Last night, the Port Authority and Durst Organization conducted a test of 1 World Trade Center's spire and beacon. Which meant a light show for lower Manhattan, parts of Brooklyn and NJ!
The spire atop the WTC means the building is 1776 feet tall and that would make it taller than Willis Tower in Chicago, which is 1729 feet. However, there's debate whether the spire should actually be counted as part of the building, because it's basically an antenna. (A previous design had the spire encased in cladding, which made it less antenna-y and more building-y, but it was scrapped due to cost.)
The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitats is debating whether to allow the spire to count as part of the building. Earlier this year, Kevin Brass, the public affairs manager the group, told the Guardian, "Our criteria are very specific. We include spires and not antennas. If this is an antenna, it won't be part of the height measurement. The cladding was an integral part of the design and made the extension part of the permanent look and feel of the building."
Obviously the timing of this test (which is not the first—it was tested a few weeks ago, too) seems to be deliberate. The Port Authority explained, "The beacon, which is the top section of spire, contains 288 50-watt LED modules that produce 288,000 lumens of light that will enable the spire to be visible up to 50 miles on a clear night." In other words—can any ol' antenna do THAT?
However, a tipster tells us it seemed "cheesy" and "underwhelming." What do you think? More importantly, what does Banksy think?
The executive director of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitats, Antony Wood, also told the Wall Street Journal , “There’s so much involved in this debate. There’s an argument one way and there’s an argument another way." Exactly: On one side, there's the fact; on the other side, there's America/Never Forget.