Behold: New York’s Glorious New Skyline, 4,259 Days in the Making

4,259 days. That's the span between the collapse and the completed rebuilding.

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Gary He / Insider Images via EPA

The spire for the top of One World Trade Center is hoisted into place at the top of the building in New York City, on May 10, 2013.

4,259 days: That’s the time span between the collapse and the rise. After more than 11 years, One World Trade Center reached its final height of 1,776 feet early Friday morning. New York now has a new skyline.

For many of the construction workers gathered this morning, it was an emotional threshold, with cheers erupting as the lengthy spire was secured into place atop the soaring facade. The building may still be far from finished (many floors still do not have windows), but this has been a threshold long in the making.

I watched the spire’s final movements live on TV and then walked up to my building’s roof in Brooklyn, glancing across the East River at the taller silhouette, now easily visible from at least three of New York’s boroughs. It was about a year ago that the construction reached a stage where the new building became easily visible across Manhattan (and throughout the city). Over the last several months, as the project has risen higher, One World Trade again became a geographical fixture in the sky, pointing New Yorkers in the direction of Battery Park and the Financial District, bringing new life into the airspace that, in recent years, has become better known for white memorial lights.

And while you can still see the construction equipment dangling off the building up close, from my distance in Carroll Gardens, the crane almost blended in with the spire this morning, as the iconic skyline seemed somehow repaired, if not completely restored.

There wasn’t loud cheering in Brooklyn this morning, but I’m betting as more people look west from Williamsburg and Red Hook, from Greenpoint and Cobble Hill, there will be a whole lot of smiles.

From the Associated Press’ report of the morning ceremony:

A tall, heavy spire was fully installed atop One World Trade Center on Friday, bringing the New York City structure to its symbolic height of 1,776 feet.

Loud applause and cries of joy erupted from construction workers assembled below as the huge, silver spire was gently lowered and secured into place. “It’s a pretty awesome feeling,” Juan Estevez said from a temporary platform on the roof of the tower where he and other workers watched the milestone.

“It’s a culmination of a tremendous amount of team work … rebuilding the New York City skyline once again,” said Estevez, a project manager for Tishman Construction.He said the workers around him were “utterly overjoyed.”

Installation of the 408-foot, 758-ton spire was completed after pieces of it had been transported to the roof of the building last week. It will serve as a world-class broadcast antenna and also as a beacon to ward off aircraft.

Lee Ielpi, whose firefighter son died after responding to the attacks, watched workers secure the spire from his office at the nearby 9/11 Tribute Center, which he co-founded.”The building looks spectacular. … I’m looking forward to the day when the cranes come down and they light the spire at night,” he said. “It’s supposed to be a very moving experience.”

The tower is slated to open for business in 2014.