One World Trade Center. Credit: Siriusly at Wikimedia Commons
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The world’s tallest residential building will be 1 foot shorter than One World Trade Center

Because otherwise the terrorists win.

Leaked plans for New York’s latest skyscraper, the Nordstrom Tower, offer a sneak peek into its intentions to set a few new records. It’ll have the tallest roof in the US, taking that title from Chicago’s Willis Tower. It’ll also be the tallest residential building in the world.

But on one front, it’s showing remarkable restraint. Drawings leaked to US website New York YIMBY show that the building’s total height, including the giant spire atop the roof, will be 1,775 feet. Just three miles away stands One World Trade Center, which stands at 1,776 feet.  

When you consider the fact that the Nordstrom Tower’s architects are Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill, who previously designed Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, this lack of vertical ambition becomes a bit mysterious. Is it a sudden fear of heights, perhaps? An oversight? A miscalculation?

Actually, it’s an act of patriotism.

The height of One World Trade Center, which reflects the year the US declared independence from its British oppressors, was chosen as a statement of US freedom in the wake of 9/11; it thus follows that surpassing this height would be an insult to the tragedy’s victims. (The fact that the Nordstrom Tower’s 1,775 feet therefore represents an America still bound by British rule doesn’t seem to have occurred to anyone.)

Plans make it clear that the spire will top out at 1775.0 feet. Credit: YIMBY

To be fair to Smith and Gill, a look back at the controversies surrounding the naming of One World Trade Center shows that they were probably right to be cautious. Its original name, the “Freedom Tower”, was axed by the Port Authority as they worried it would be “too political” for potential renters.

Fox News (who else?) accused them of being un-American. George Pataki, governor of New York at the time of the 9/11 attacks, told the New York Daily News that he, too, disapproved of the name change:

It shouldn’t just be, you know, One World Trade Center. It should have a name. And symbolising 1776 and showing the world that we weren’t going to be frightened in the face of these attacks... it all logically came together that the perfect name for this is the Freedom Tower.”

And in case you were wondering, yes, he is directly comparing the British colonial period with the terrorist attacks. Go figure.

The new tower, which will be located on West 27th Street, is named after its owner, the department store Nordstrom’s. It’ll contain a seven floor flagship Nordstrom’s store as well as a hotel and apartments. No concern about names that are “driven by commercial interests” here, then. 

This is a preview of our new sister publication, CityMetric. We'll be launching its website soon – in the meantime, you can follow it on Twitter and Facebook.

Barbara Speed is comment editor at the i, and was technology and digital culture writer at the New Statesman, and a staff writer at CityMetric.

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Want to send a positive Brexit message to Europe? Back Arsene Wenger for England manager

Boris Johnson could make a gesture of goodwill. 

It is hard not to feel some sympathy for Sam Allardyce, who coveted the England job for so many years, before losing it after playing just a single match. Yet Allardyce has only himself to blame and the Football Association were right to move quickly to end his tenure.

There are many candidates for the job. The experience of Alan Pardew and the potential of Eddie Howe make them strong contenders. The FA's reported interest in Ralf Rangner sent most of us scurrying to Google to find out who the little known Leipzig manager is. But the standout contender is Arsenal's French boss Arsene Wenger, 

Would England fans accept a foreign manager? The experience of Sven Goran-Eriksson suggests so, especially when the results are good. Nobody complained about having a Swede in charge the night that England won 5-1 in Munich, though Sven's sides never won the glittering prizes, the Swede proving perhaps too rigidly English in his commitment to the 4-4-2 formation.

Fabio Capello's brief stint was less successful. He never seemed happy in the English game, preferring to give interviews in Italian. That perhaps contributed to his abrupt departure, falling out with his FA bosses after he seemed unable to understand why allegations of racial abuse by the England captain had to be taken seriously by the governing body.

Arsene Wenger could not be more different. Almost unknown when he arrived to "Arsene Who?" headlines two decades ago, he became as much part of North London folklore as all-time great Arsenal and Spurs bosses, Herbert Chapman or Bill Nicholson, his own Invicibles once dominating the premier league without losing a game all season. There has been more frustration since the move from Highbury to the Emirates, but Wenger's track record means he ranks among the greatest managers of the last hundred years - and he could surely do a job for England.

Arsene is a European Anglophile. While the media debate whether or not the FA Cup has lost its place in our hearts, Wenger has no doubt that its magic still matters, which may be why his Arsenal sides have kept on winning it so often. Wenger manages a multinational team but England's football traditions have certainly got under his skin. The Arsenal boss has changed his mind about emulating the continental innovation of a winter break. "I would cry if you changed that", he has said, citing his love of Boxing Day football as part of the popular tradition of English football.

Obviously, the FA must make this decision on football grounds. It is an important one to get right. Fifty years of hurt still haven't stopped us dreaming, but losing to Iceland this summer while watching Wales march to the semi-finals certainly tested any lingering optimism. Wenger was as gutted as anybody. "This is my second country. I was absolutely on my knees when we lost to Iceland. I couldn't believe it" he said.

The man to turn things around must clearly be chosen on merit. But I wonder if our new Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson - albeit more of a rugger man himself - might be tempted to quietly  suggest in the corridors of footballing power that the appointment could play an unlikely role in helping to get the mood music in place which would help to secure the best Brexit deal for Britain, and for Europe too.

Johnson does have one serious bit of unfinished business from the referendum campaign: to persuade his new boss Theresa May that the commitments made to European nationals in Britain must be honoured in full.  The government should speed up its response and put that guarantee in place. 

Nor should that commitment to 3m of our neighbours and friends be made grudgingly.

So Boris should also come out and back Arsene for the England job, as a very good symbolic way to show that we will continue to celebrate the Europeans here who contribute so much to our society.

British negotiators will be watching the twists and turns of the battle for the Elysee Palace, to see whether Alain Juppe, Nicolas Sarkozy end up as President. It is a reminder that other countries face domestic pressures over the negotiations to come too. So the political negotiations will be tough - but we should make sure our social and cultural relations with Europe remain warm.

More than half of Britons voted to leave the political structures of the European Union in June. Most voters on both sides of the referendum had little love of the Brussels institutions, or indeed any understanding of what they do.

But how can we ensure that our European neighbours and friends understand and hear that this was no rejection of them - and that so many of the ways that we engage with our fellow Europeans rom family ties to foreign holidays, the European contributions to making our society that bit better - the baguettes and cappuccinos, cultural links and sporting heroes remain as much loved as ever.

We will see that this weekend when nobody in the golf clubs will be asking who voted Remain and who voted Leave as we cheer on our European team - seven Brits playing in the twelve-strong side, alongside their Spanish, Belgian, German, Irish and Swedish team-mates.

And now another important opportunity to get that message across suddenly presents itself.

Wenger for England. What better post-Brexit commitment to a new Entente Cordiale could we possibly make?

Sunder Katwala is director of British Future and former general secretary of the Fabian Society.