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Who’s Got the Bigger One, Chicago or New York?
By Ray Hanania
Southwest News-Herald Friday Nov. 15, 2013
The battle between who has the tallest building, Chicago and New York, is more about egos and who has the largest, well, let’s not go there.
But the debate and the ruling this week stripping Chicago of the title of being home to the tallest building in America is one that belongs in the gutter.
A politically motivated committee afraid to rule against the symbol of the post-Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York decided that New York’s Freedom Tower is taller than Chicago’s Willis Tower.
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What a bunch of bunk!
It’s a good example of how Americans embrace perceptions over reality and facts of life. If they wanted to make the Freedom Tower the tallest building in America or the World why not just build it that way and put more floors. Instead, they put a 408 foot “spire” or “needle” atop the Freedom Tower, which is more formally called 1 World Trade Tower, and that’s the only thing that makes that building “appear” to be taller.
Freedom Tower is not taller. The spire isn’t even a real spire. It’s an antenna that doesn’t work. The Willis Tower antenna brings it almost as high as the Freedom Tower.
There’s no doubt in my mind that the judges, called the “Height Committee of the Council on Tall Buildings” and their partners the “Urban Habitat” made their ruling against Chicago and reality because they feared ruling against anything that might question America’s — or their — patriotism.
They concluded that an antenna, which has a real function, does not count in measurement, but a “spire” with no purpose other than as a decoration, does count.
Willis Tower is 1,451 feet tall, not including the antenna on its top. The Freedom Tower is 1,368 feet tall, but claims to be 1,776 feet tall (an intended reference to the year of America’s birth). That includes the 408 foot “spire,” a worthless decoration that makes it 300 feet taller than the Willis Tower’s real building height, not including the Willis Tower’s antenna.
Why didn’t they build the Freedom Tower to really be the tallest building in America at 1,776 feet of office and floor space? Because they knew they could cheat. And that doesn’t honor anyone.
The irony was that the terrorists had also threatened to destroy the Willis Tower, which was formerly called the Sears Tower, a true symbol of America’s dignity representing a company that employed so many Americans and was once the cornerstone of American ingenuity.
From 1908 until 1974, New York had the tallest buildings in the country, but then Chicago overtook them in the race to the sky
In the mid-1990s, the Willis Tower lost the title of Tallest Building in the World to the Petronas Towers in Malaysia, which has since been surpassed by other buildings including the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which has an 800 foot spire decoration, too.
I hope that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will roll up his sleeves and fight to defend the honor of Chicago. Maybe even replace the Willis Tower antenna with a new spire to give Chicago it’s title back and teach those “New Yorkers” a real lesson in civility, honor and justice.
Of course, we do have so many more problems than who has the biggest building like poverty, the political divisiveness that plagues our nation, continued racism and increasing violence.
But those are real issues and real issues apparently don’t move the public as much as the stupid ones do.
- One World Trade Center Will Be America’s Tallest Building (nation.time.com)
- Why Chicagoans Will Love The Sears Willis Tower No Matter What Its Rank (stunningguidance.wordpress.com)
- One World Trade Center named tallest US building (news.yahoo.com)
- One World Trade Center Is Ruled Tallest Building in U.S. (nytimes.com)
- Size Does Matter, At Least In The Tallest Building Debate (wnyc.org)
- 1776-Foot ‘Freedom Tower’ Is the Tallest, Most American Building in the U.S. (mediabistro.com)
- New York’s Freedom Tower, tallest building in the Americas (vancouverdesi.com)
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"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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