If it didn't have the spire, 1 World Trade Center would be shorter than the Willis Tower in Chicago, which stands at 1,451 feet and has the title of tallest building in the U.S., not including its antennas. The world's tallest building, topping 2,700 feet, is in Dubai.
The twin towers were about 1,360 feet tall, not including the antenna on one of them.
The spire at 1 World Trade Center will serve as a television and radio antenna, and it will feature an LED-powered light that will be visible from tens of miles away, said Scott Rechler, the vice chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the lower Manhattan trade center site. The light, which will change colors, is to be activated in the next few months.
"It will be a beacon of hope, just like the Statue of Liberty," Rechler said.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie praised the construction workers for their effort on the building, designed by David Childs. Tenants are to include the magazine publisher Conde Nast, the government's General Services Administration and Vantone Holdings China Center, which will provide business space for international companies.
Lee Ielpi, whose firefighter son died after responding to the Sept. 11 attacks, watched workers secure the spire from his office at the nearby 9/11 Tribute Center, which he co-founded.
"I'm looking forward to the day when the cranes come down and they light the spire at night," he said.
Associated Press writers Karen Matthews and Ula Ilnytzsky contributed to this report.