On this day: One World Trade Center, New York City

See more from my On This Day series here, where I celebrate travel memories on their trip anniversaries.

On December 4, 2017, I was at One World Trade Center in New York City.

Thirteen years following the tragic 9/11 attacks, One World Trade Center (also known as the Freedom Tower) was opened. Located in Lower Manhattan of New York City, it is the main tower of the rebuilt World Trade Center complex. It stands at 94 stories, making it the tallest building in the United States and Western Hemisphere, and sixth tallest in the world.

One World Trade Center was designed by architect David Childs, who also created Burj Khalifa in Dubai and the Willis Tower in Chicago. Construction began in 2006 and the tower’s steel structure was topped out in 2012, with the final component of the spire installed in 2013. Reaching 1,776 feet, the height is a deliberate reference to the year when the United States Declaration of Independence was signed.

At the base of the complex lies the National September 11 Memorial. The design, Reflecting Absence, was drafted by architect Michael Arad of Handel Architects, selected as winner of the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition. Working with landscape-architecture firm Peter Walker and Partners, Arad created a forest of swamp white oak trees with two square reflecting pools in the centre, marking where the Twin Towers stood. The two one-acre pools contain the largest man-made waterfalls in the United States, meant to symbolize the loss of life and physical void left by the attacks. The names of 2,983 victims are inscribed on 152 bronze parapets on the memorial pools.

In 2015, the One World Observatory opened, featuring a viewing platform and eatery situated near the top of the tower. Admission will get you a ride on the SkyPod Elevators up 102 stories in 47 seconds. Stepping off the elevator, you will be greeted by breathtaking 360 degree views overlooking the city.