Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Yesterday, I had the remarkable opportunity to tour the entire World Trade Center site including the underground 9/11 Memorial Museum which is set to open September 11, 2012. In the week leading up to the 10th anniversary I will be sharing a new story on the site every day, taking you to the outside memorial, the underground museum, up to the top of the building and more. Video of the tour will also be posted on this website on or about 9/11/11 and it is truly amazing, not because I had anything to do with it, but because getting an inside look at how the World Trade Center site appears today is important. If you watch the video closely you will also notice that I ran into film director Spike Lee at one point during the tour. I'm told I missed seeing Robert De Niro by just a few hours.

In less than three weeks the eyes of the world will be on the 9/11 Memorial ceremonies at the World Trade Center site. The new 1 World Trade Center currently soars 80 stories into the sky in lower Manhattan. When work is completed in late 2013, the structure will stand 105 stories high and boast 2.5 million square feet of prime commercial real estate. 1.6 million square feet have already been purchased. Powerhouse publishing firm Conde Nast has already taken 1 million square feet.

Over 3,000 workers are going around the clock and the building is rising at the rate of one floor per week. On my tour of the World Trade Center site Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni told me, "The key is to set goals and then meet them." He says the goals being set are almost always met far in advance of their target dates.

On this coming Sunday, September 11, family members of those killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks have been invited to a ceremony at the outdoor memorial park beneath 1 World Trade Center. Those expected to be on hand include: President Barack Obama, former President George W. Bush, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, New Governor Andrew Cuomo, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and former New Jersey Governor Don DiFrancesco.

Baroni says the 1 World Trade Center project is unlike any other. He explained, "We understand the challenge of building 1 World Trade Center is met with the fact that the original Twin Towers were attacked by terrorists not once, but twice, first in 1993 and then again in 2001. So we're building a building that we know will be a target for bad people across the world."

"There's no specific threat, but we just know given history that this is something that is certainly going to rise to the level of iconic places in New York," said Baroni as we looked down from a platform on the 71st floor. "We've built this building to be the strongest office building ever built both in outer steel and concrete shell and in inner concrete core."

A typical concrete sidewalk in America has the strength of 2,000 pounds per square inch. At 1 World Trade, the cement is 14,000 pounds per square inch. Each foot of steel on the outside of the building is 3,000 pounds a foot.

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