The team behind the construction of Four World Trade Center celebrated a soaring milestone Monday.
The building's final beam - strapped with an American flag and covered with construction workers' signatures - was lifted and placed on top of the 977-foot skyscraper.
Developer Larry Silverstein says the structure, which will be the first at the site to be completed, is a symbol of the city's unwavering spirit.
"This will be followed by tower 3 and then by tower 2 and at the end of the day, enormous excitement. Great personal satisfaction and recognition of the spirit that prevails in New York," Silverstein said.
"This building is basically like a butterfly just released from the cocoon right now displaying its beautiful colors and the shape and size of this building here. It's a big day for the boys and girls here at tower 4," said Tishman Construction Superintendent Frank Hussey.
Four World Trade Center is slated to open in the fall of 2013.
The Port Authority and the city will be the building's first tenants, occupying about half of it.
"It's 72 stories in height and almost 1,000 feet in height. It has a great active presence at the street level, five levels of retail, two below grade and three above grade, much livelier in some ways, much more New York than the old World Trade Center was," said WTC Properties President Janno Lieber.
Many workers at the site say the ongoing construction is a true labor of love.
"We witness the coming down of the two Twin Towers, and we also witness and participate in the putting up of the replacements, and it's wonderful," said Safety Inspector Authority Ugbenin.
"To see something like this that my grandchildren can look back and say my grandfather worked there, very emotional," said Labor Steward Jesus Rivera.
The building will be the smallest of the towers on the site which include One World Trade Center - formerly the Freedom Tower - and is scheduled to open in 2014.