Back in October, yours truly visited the Financial District in Manhattan and took some pictures of the rising structure which is now officially known as “1 World Trade Center” and reflected then on whether the originally-conceived name for the building, i.e. the Freedom Tower, might stick in general usage, despite the apparent effort to put that moniker in the past. I think there’s good evidence today that it is sticking. Take just the headline in the New York Post as a barometer: WTC’s Freedom Tower to rise higher than Empire State building today.
People prefer to use a name for something in the skyline rather than an address, and the people of New York will call it what they choose to call it. It’s not entirely clear to me why the owners (being the Port Authority of NY and NJ) chose to ditch the name “Freedom Tower,” but that’s what they did back in 2009. They did suggest that it was easier to get tenants by calling it “1 World Trade Center.” Did “Freedom Tower” seem too “in-your-face,” too defiant? Yet, “1 World Trade Center” was the name/address of one of the buildings that was destroyed on September 11th, 2001—the other one being “2 World Trade Center.” (In common usage, mind you, they were the Twin Towers.) Would you prefer to rent space or go to work in a building bearing the name of one recently destroyed by terrorists or in one bearing a new name? Go figure.
It’s rather moot, anyway. Everybody knows why this building is there and what it has replaced. It will be by its very existence a prestige target for any jihadists who seek to continue the legacy of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. Despite the extraordinary safety and security measures, everyone who goes to work there will be engaging in something of an act of defiance each day, like it or not. One might as well take pride in it.
When finished, the building will be 1776 feet high at the tip of its spire, which was always intended as an acknowledgment of the year that the United States of America declared independence. “Freedom Tower” may not be the most elegant and sophisticated name, but it just makes sense. As a citizen of New York City, I bid it welcome to my skyline.