The One World Trade Center in New York was built as a sign of freedom at Ground Zero and is now the tallest building of the Western Hemisphere. One World Trade Center is located at Ground Zero, right next to the 9/11 Memorial. Why is the Freedom Tower now called One World Trade Center? It was named Freedom Tower before but they changed the name to One World Trade Center (1 WTC) very quickly.
Precisely because it has so much symbolic meaning, the design and implementation phases took a very long time – there were various designs and conflicting ideas. The entire area around One World Trade Center is super impressive which we captured in a video as well.
▷ Check out all the things to do near One World Trade Center in our Ground Zero Insider Guide.
One World Trade Center at Ground Zero
One World Trade Center recaptures the New York skyline and is in downtown Manhattan’s most popular business center that has established fairly quickly a new civic icon for the country.
One World Trade Center has a total of 104 floors, a gigantic lobby, and an observation platform. The observation platform of One World Trade Center – One World Observatory – opened May 29, 2015. The tower rises from a podium whose square plan measures approximately 204 feet by 204 feet, the same footprints as the original towers.
One World Trade Center has a very special architecture that connects seamlessly to the city skyline. 1 WTC comes with an innovative mix of architecture, structure, urban design, safety, and sustainability which the city is very proud of.
One World Trade Center has a total of 104 floors, a gigantic lobby, and an observation platform. The observation platform of One World Trade Center – One World Observatory – opened May 29, 2015. Get more information here.
Who designed the One World Trade Center?
Designed by David Childs, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) LLP, 1 World Trade Center is the tallest building in the western hemisphere. It achieved the LEED Gold certification in September 2016. It rises 1,776 feet to the top of the New York City skyline. There is another name that you’ll keep hearing in regards to who is the architect of the One World Trade Center.
His name is Daniel Libeskind. His original plans were transformed by David Childs, and Libeskind has been cut almost entirely out of the process. The beautifully designed 104-story structure opened in spring 2014 with its first tenant, Condé Nast, which moved in later in the year.
The tallest building in New York City
The city’s current tallest building is indeed the One World Trade Center at 1,776 feet but is One World Trade Center taller than the Twin Towers?
The actual building is the exact same height as the original North Tower at 1368 feet but the antenna is considered a spire on the new skyscraper, which brings it to 1776 feet.
But it just didn’t happen randomly that the One World Trade Center is 1776 feet tall. It was designed on purpose because it is a number that nods to the year the United States signed the Declaration of Independence.
What are the buildings at the World Trade Center site?
The same area where you could once find the World Trade Center with a total of seven buildings you will today also find a complex of buildings that is called the World Trade Center site formerly referred to as “Ground Zero” or “the Pile” immediately after the September 11 attacks. Over 18 years have passed since New York started to rebuild was was destroyed on September 11, 2001.
▷ Check out all the building on Ground Zero in New York City
- One World Trade Center – The centerpiece of the new WTC stands 104 stories and 1,776 feet tall. On top, you find One World Observatory, which opened in May 2015.
- 2 World Trade Center – Still due to rise. Several murals and street art have been added to the site where the building will eventually stand. This is how it will look in the future.
- 3 World Trade Center – Opened in 2018 and is Manhattan’s fifth-tallest building (for now). It was designed by design is by architect Richard Rogers of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and has direct access to the transportation hub.
- 4 World Trade Center – Designed by Fumihiko Maki it was the first building in the historic 16-acre WTC complex to debut. It is fully leased and stands 977-foot-tall on Ground Zero.
- 5 World Trade Center – Still unfinished and so far it is unclear if it will become a residential building or a commercial tower for hotels, offices or retail.
- 7 World Trade Center – The original 7WTC which was completed in 1987 used to be on the same site. It got completely destroyed during 9/11. The new structure stands 741 feet tall with a design by SOM’s David Childs. It opened only 5 years after the attacks and is an office building just like it used to be.
- National September 11 Memorial Museum – I actually went to the museum the day it first opened on May 21, 2014. Nearly 16 million people have visited since then. Read everything about the National September 11 Memorial Museum here.
- Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center – Still under construction and will open in 2021.
- Oculus – A Lower Manhattan landmark and the amazing work by Santiago Calatrava. It is home to the Westfield World Trade Center Mall and the topper for the WTC Transportation Hub. Total cost: North of $4 billion.
- World Trade Center Transportation Hub – WTC newest Subway Stop that sits on the former 1 Stop that was destroyed during the attacks. It is all white and features an installation by artist Ann Hamilton. You can find the text from the Declaration of Independence and the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. From there you can connect to the Path, Ferry or other NYC subway trains.
- Liberty Park – Beautifully designed the park was constructed atop the World Trade Center Vehicle Security Center. From here you can overlook the rest of the World Trade Center site. It is now home to Fritz Koenig’s Sphere, which was placed between the Twin Towers when they opened back in the 1970s. Until 2017 it was placed in Battery Park but then they moved it to Liberty Park.
- St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church – The church is supposed to be within Liberty Park but construction hasn’t moved forward for a while now. We will keep you updated.
One World Observatory Video
Check out our video about One World Observatory
One World Observatory at One World Trade Center
We are not only impressed and amazed by the tower of One World Trade Center itself, but also about what is inside. One World Observatory is one of the three (soon to be four) observation decks in New York City.
The observatory is located on floors 100-102 of One World Trade Center, with exhibits & restaurants. Enjoy 360° views of the city, Hudson River, Brooklyn Bridge, New Jersey, and Central Park.
Hours of One World Observatory
You can visit One World Observatory daily from 08:00 AM until 09:00 PM. From May until September the observation deck is open until 10:00 PM. Make sure to check their website during the holidays because hours may vary.
Tickets One World Observatory
Have you thought about getting a sightseeing pass for your New York trip? Unfortunately, One World Observatory isn’t included in the New York Pass. But it is included if you decide to purchase the Sightseeing Pass, or the New York FreeStyle Pass.
If you are not considering a sightseeing pass for New York City, you can purchase your tickets for One World Observatory right here.
More things you should know about One World Trade Center
Security and safety measures were a top priority
The most important aspect of the building was its safety: a specialty steel composite that has excellent fire resistance properties and will withstand extreme temperatures was chosen for the construction. All windows of the lower floors are made from specially hardened glass that will not shatter in an explosion.
Independent ventilation systems prevent the dissemination of possible hazardous gasses, and emergency exits were designed to be extra wide. All the vulnerabilities that came to light in the terrorist attacks of 2001 have been addressed in the new building. The trauma of the collapse of the Twin Towers is not forgotten and is not to be repeated.
Tours at the One World Trade Center
One World Trade Center also makes a striking impression from the water: the building is truly beautiful, and its grandeur and presence in the New York skyline are simply phenomenal. There are many tours you should consider if you are further interested in One World Trade Center or the One World Observatory. There are our favorites:
Helicopter rides to see the One World Trade Center
The view from One World Observatory is incredible. But in order to actually have a good view of the One World Trade Center, we recommend hopping on a helicopter and enjoy the breathtaking moments from up there.
Every helicopter tour in New York City will offer you a close-up view of One World Trade Center.
If a helicopter tour in New York City is not for you, there are several sightseeing cruises that take you along the One World Trade Center on the Hudson River to give you amazing views as well.
The best sightseeing cruises, sailing and water tours in New York
A cruise is a truly special experience that will give you the feeling of a...
The Best Helicopter Tours in NYC
A helicopter tour is one of the most exciting things you can do during your...
Dining at One World Trade Center
One World Observatory invites you to the Restaurant ONE Dine. The views are great of course. It is pricey so we wouldn’t recommend it. But within 10 minutes walking distance of One World Trade Center, there are a lot of dining options. One of them is Eataly, an Italian food market.
Best Hotels near One World Trade Center
After looking further into One World Trade Center, you may also want to look into staying in the area. These are the best hotels in Lower Manhattan. Some of them offer views of the One World Trade Center Site. Make sure during booking to request a room with a view.
Calling New York City home is still pretty surreal. After moving here 5 years ago, I still see it as my dream life. Ever since I’ve been exploring this amazing city for Loving New York I’ve grown to love it even more. I love hooking all of you up with the inside scoop, top attractions, events and everything in between. I'm your go-to person for the hidden gems, best restaurants and the absolute best things to do in the city that never sleeps.