Today it was announced that 1 World Trade Center became New York City's tallest building, surpassing the Empire State Building by about twenty feet. For as long as I've known, the tallest building records have meant a lot to countries, cities, and developers. When I was younger, the Twin Towers and the Empire State Building seemed to go on forever. But over the years, the heights of these structures became less and less impressive to me.

I had the opportunity to see Taipei 101 back in 2007 when it was the tallest building in the world (Dubai's Burj Khalifa opened three years later). But I was far more dazzled by Taipei's bustling night market scene, mazes of tiny huts that barely cleared one story.

For me, aesthetics have almost always been more appealing than science. Of all of Gaudi's known masterpieces in Barcelona, La Segrada Familia - with its series of stretching spires - is actually one of my least favorite of his creations, and I'd choose Parc Guell over it any day.

That said, having 1 World Trade Center become New York City's tallest building obviously means something different this time around. It's not just about beating records and boasting. This time New York City is sending a message around the world about our resilience. And that I can stand behind.


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