TIME cities

See the View From the Top of the One World Trade Center Observatory

It opens to the public on Friday

The observatory at One World Trade Center is opening to the public Friday, providing visitors with a view that stretches 50 miles.

Reaching 1,776 feet into the sky, the building is the tallest in the U.S. The observatory takes up floors 100, 101 and 102 of the tower.

Admission costs $32 for adults, but is free to all family members of 9/11 victims and to rescue and recovery workers who responded to ground zero.

Check out TIME’s interactive view from the top of the spire.

TIME Accident

World Trade Center Window Washers Say Training Kept Them Calm

One joked they wouldn't mind some ground-floor jobs next

Two window washers who became stuck in scaffolding off 1 World Trade Center this week said in a news conference Friday that their training helped to keep them calm while awaiting rescue.

Juan Lizama, 41, and Juan Lopez, 33, said they kept in good spirits Wednesday after a cable suddenly became slack, leaving their scaffolding completely askew, according to the CBC. Their union, 32BJ, says its 18-month training series helps workers make split-second decisions that can ensure their safety when accidents happen.

“Everyone was safe around us and beneath us,” Lopez said. “Once I saw the fire department inside, I knew it was just a matter of time.” The responders were able to rescue the duo by cutting through thick window glass with a diamond saw.

Nevertheless, Lopez joked, the two wouldn’t mind being assigned to some ground-floor jobs for the time being.


TIME Base Jumping

WATCH: BASE Jumpers Leap Off One World Trade Center

Four thrill-seekers are charged with felony burglary, misdemeanor reckless endangerment and misdemeanor jumping from a structure after three of them parachuted from the Freedom Tower last September

Three men who are accused of parachuting from the top of One World Trade Center in September turned themselves in to authorities Monday, and released a video of their death-defying leap from the tallest building in the western hemisphere.

The video of the stunt was shot by a helmet camera and shows one of the men plummeting from the 1,776-ft building before pulling the rip cord, then landing on a nearly empty street in lower Manhattan.

James Brady, 32; Andrew Rossig, 33; Marko Markovich, 27; along with Kyle Hartwell, 29 – who is accused of being the ground man of the operation – were charged with felony burglary, misdemeanor reckless endangerment and misdemeanor jumping from a structure on Monday. The four men pleaded not guilty and were released on bail. They could face up to seven years in prison if convicted of all charges.

New York Police Commissioner William Bratton said that surveillance cameras captured the jump, and police used the footage to track down the men in a six-month investigation. “Just a little snippet of video that we had of someone landing on the West Side Highway with a parachute around 4 a.m.,” Bratton told New York’s WABC-TV. “That’s all we had to work with initially.”

TIME Crime

Teen Arrested After Climbing 1 World Trade Center

One World Trade Center
Ted S. Warren—AP

The 16-year-old from New Jersey was able to gain access to the spire of Manhattan's 1 World Trade Center after slipping past security on the 104th floor. The daring climb raises questions about the security of America's tallest building

A New Jersey teenager was able to gain access to the spire of Manhattan’s 1 World Trade Center recently after slipping past security on the 104th floor.

The teenager, 16-year-old Justin Casquejo, was later arrested, charged with trespassing and released. According to court papers, he told police: “I was walking around the construction site and figured out how to access the Freedom Tower rooftop.” Police have secured a warrant to search the camera and cellphone he was carrying at the time.

A Port Authority Police Department spokesman says a guard who was reportedly asleep at the time of Casquejo’s climb on Sunday has been fired. The full security measures of 1 WTC are not slated to go into effect until 2015, according to city documents.

Law enforcement officials say that Casquejo may have tricked an elevator operator into ferrying the teen up to the 88th floor. Casqeujo then hiked up to the 104th floor, snuck past the sleeping security guard and climbed through a foot-wide hole to reach the top.

A Twitter account that purportedly belongs to Casquejo tweeted one word Tuesday: “Inspired.”

[DNA Info]

TIME the backstory

10 Best Questions from TIME's 1 World Trade Center Twitter Chat

Jonathan Woods (in orange) assists ironworkers as they remove the 13-foot-long jib from the beacon at the very top of 1 World Trade Center in New York City on Sept. 28, 2013.
Douglas Holgate—New York On Air for TIME Jonathan Woods (in orange) assists ironworkers as they remove the 13-foot-long jib from the beacon at the very top of 1 World Trade Center in New York City on Sept. 28, 2013.

Here are the 10 best questions from LightBox's 1 World Trade Center Twitter chat

On Friday, March 7, LightBox hosted a live Twitter chat with TIME Senior Editor of Photo and Interactive, Jonathan Woods, and Mike Franz of Gigapan, who created the 1 World Trade Center interactive panorama. Woods and Franz took questions about picking the right equipment, the technology they used to make the panorama, and potential future projects. Below, we’ve archived the 10 best questions and answers from the chat. To see the whole chat, visit @TimePictures on Twitter or search the hashtag #AskLightbox.

On the software they used to make the panorama:

On picking the right equipment:

On troubleshooting technical issues:

On gaining access to 1 World Trade Center:

On the number of images it took to make the 360 panorama:

On getting a perfectly clear day:

On the final result:

On the potential practical applications of the panorama:

On future projects:

On the ironworkers that built 1 World Trade Center:

TIME View From the Top

The Making of the One World Trade Center Panorama

Bruce Springsteen got it right when he called his magnificent album of post-9/11 songs The Rising. The title track acknowledges the heartbreaking strangeness of the empty sky above lower Manhattan after the Twin Towers fell. “Sky full of longing and emptiness,” he calls it. But then he sings about the new sky the rising will bring: “Sky of fullness, sky of blessed life.” With the near completion of 1 World Trade, the rising has happened and that sky is back.

With that prospect in mind, last year TIME entered into negotiations with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the regional agency that built the original World Trade Center and likewise owns the new one, to gain exclusive access to the antenna-spire that tops the new tower. Our aim was to take an unprecedented 360-degree interactive image from the topmost point of what is now the tallest building in the western hemisphere.

After months of back and forth, we were granted access. Then TIME partnered with Gigapan, a tech startup based in Portland, Ore. Beginning with crude bar-napkin sketches and eventually moving to mechanical engineers working in AutoCAD and then to welders in Asheville, N.C., an eight-month process of design and construction resulted in a 13-ft.-long aluminum jib calibrated to adhere to the base of the beacon at the top of the tower’s 408-ft. spire. To that rotating arm was attached a Canon 5D Mark II with a 100-mm lens. Over a five-hour span of orbital shooting on Sept. 28, 2013, the camera produced 567 pictures that were then stitched together digitally into a single massive—and zoomable—image of everything the eye can see in all directions. This is how that amazing image came to be.

See the image and read the full story.

TIME Airlines

Travelers: It’s About Damn Time Airlines Toughened Up Baggage Policies

Lester Lefkowitz—Getty Images

United is ratcheting up stricter carry-on baggage rule enforcement, and the result is that more passengers will be hit with fees. To which many travelers say: Wonderful!

This week, word has quickly spread about United Airlines’ crackdown on passengers who attempt to bring oversized carry-ons onto planes. Airline staffers have begun zealously enforcing existing carry-on rules. They’re taking much closer looks at the bags being rolled and carried onto planes, and if a bag appears like it might exceed the official carry-on size limits–9 inches by 14 inches by 22 inches, including handles and wheels—it’ll be measured. If your bag is over the limit, you’ll be sent back to the ticket counter, where the bag must be checked and a $25 fee must be paid.

As the Associated Press pointed out, “Some travelers suggest the crackdown is part of a larger attempt by United to collect more fees.”

Surely, there’s some truth there. The root of the carry-on problem, after all, comes from the advent of airlines charging fees for checked bags. As soon as checked luggage fees became standard, passengers naturally started trying to circumvent the charge by traveling only with carry-ons—which, of course, have been stuffed to the brim and perhaps above the official size limit because these customers were skipping checked bags (and checked bag fees). So yeah, United’s crackdown is a direct way to stop customers from circumventing baggage fees.

(MORE: Airport Confidential: Inside the Strange World of Airline Cancellations)

United says the initiative isn’t at all a money grab, however. “The stepped-up enforcement is to address the customers who complained about having bags within the size limit and weren’t able to take them on the plane,” United spokesman Rahsaan Johnson said. “That is solely what this is about.”

Cue legions of travelers rolling their eyes.

The truth is that while consumers understand most baggage polices—United’s new enforcement initiative included—are about increasing revenues for airlines, something has changed in traveler attitudes over time. With the exception of a few carriers (JetBlue and Southwest, notably), checked baggage fees are the industry standard. Once viewed with outrage and disgust, the fees are now perceived as being a mildly annoying inevitability. If only because they’ve been around for so long, baggage fees tend to be viewed as more acceptable, and even as more reasonable, year after year.

And now, after years of dealing with baggage fees—and after years of dealing with fellow travelers circumventing the fees by breaking carry-on limits, hogging the overhead bin space, and generally making the boarding process a time-consuming nightmare—many airline passengers are actually welcoming United’s get-tough initiative with open arms. Well, at least the kinds of diehard travelers who are regulars on flying forums are doing so.

More than two years ago, a lively FlyerTalk thread begging United to “Start enforcing friggin carry-on bag limits!” in order to make boarding faster and easier for everyone. A more recently launched FlyerTalk discussion concerning the expected stricter enforcement of carry-on rules as of March 1 was largely greeted happily by travelers. “Hopefully they do start enforcing,” one commenter stated. “People need to stop bringing their fridge with them.”

At a TripAdvisor forum on United’s move, commenters chimed in with many “It’s about time” sentiments, as well as some sarcasm and mock outrage. “I am boarding a UA flight shortly and I think this is outrageous,” one comment reads. “How dare they enforce their published rules?”

(MORE: After Two Frigid Months for Auto Sales, Dealerships Are Desperate for Buyers)

“I think I’m with the camp of folks who think it is about time something is done,” one traveler who started a nuanced discussion of the issue at a Fodors forum explained. “But then, I always check at least one large suitcase, sometimes two, and I am a 1K with United so my checked bags go for free.”

That last bit is especially important. Folks who travel all the time and/or who have sufficiently high frequent flier status to not have to pay the usual baggage fees tend to be more welcoming of United’s initiative, and understandably so. Casual travelers, on the other hand, are probably more likely to see the move as yet another confusing and unfair tactic aimed at getting more of their cash. As a post at The Points Guy summed up, the potential problems of United’s stricter policies include poor disclosure, the likelihood of inconsistent enforcement, and also the likelihood that the change may slow boarding further because more passengers will be measuring their bags and arguing with airline employees.

When the United Hub website first announced the airline would be tweaked with the goal of “an easier all-around boarding process, and a friendlier flight,” one blunt commenter offered the succinct thought:

“This is just a ploy to take more money for things that have been free.”

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