5/3/12 | 623 views
Building, Restoring Two New York Icons
One World Trade Center reached an important milestone this week.
A steel beam installed by construction workers on Monday brought the height of the structure’s skeleton to 1,250 feet—making it taller than the Empire State Building and, officially, the tallest building in the city.
It was a symbolic and emotional benchmark for a site that just over 10 years ago still held the remains of the Twin Towers, brought down in the 9/11 terrorist attacks that shattered the city and changed the world as we knew it.
A Port Authority official called the project “a symbol of liberty and pride for our entire country.” That it is—and as the newest addition to New York’s iconic skyline, it’s a symbol of determination and renewal as well.
As we celebrate the rebirth of the World Trade Center site in the city’s downtown financial district, we’re also looking ahead to the restoration and renewal of one of the city’s oldest icons: St. Patrick’s Cathedral—in the beating heart of midtown Manhattan.
Built by the donations of immigrants, the magnificent 133-year-old Gothic structure was ridiculed as a foolhardy project when plans were announced to build it in a near-wilderness area then thought to be too far outside the city.
What happened, of course, is that the city expanded northward and the cathedral—nourished by generations of Catholics in New York and by visitors from around the world—has also become an anchor of tourism for the city, with five and a half million visitors a year. And its once-isolated site is now just a short walk from world-class landmarks that include Central Park, Rockefeller Center, the Broadway theater district and more.
Time, the environment and the wear-and-tear of the crowds have taken a toll, however, leading St. Patrick’s Cathedral to embark on a $175 million multi-year repair and restoration project on the interior and exterior of the massive structure, including its stained-glass windows. A restorative public garden is part of the plan, as is work on other buildings on the cathedral campus, including a renovation of the rectory (story, Page 2).
And while we look forward to seeing St. Patrick’s Cathedral restored to its original beauty, the archdiocese says “the work is not cosmetic, but a necessary repair that will ensure that the cathedral endures for future generations.”
As Catholic New Yorkers, we’re proud that our city has embraced the symbol of our faith and elevated it to a treasured landmark. We urge all to support this restoration, with their continued participation in the cathedral’s programs and services, and with their donations to the fund to restore it.
As New Yorkers, we’re proud too that our city and our region have demonstrated the resilience to transform another of our most important and iconic sites, the World Trade Center, where the city’s tallest building will one day overlook the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, and where new generations of Americans will celebrate their freedom and their future while honoring our past.
Information on donating to the cathedral restoration fund can be found online at: saintpatrickscathedral.org or by calling (646) 794-3358.
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