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.

Ukip's Nigel Farage and Paul Nuttall. Photo: Getty
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Is the general election 2017 the end of Ukip?

Ukip led the way to Brexit, but now the party is on less than 10 per cent in the polls. 

Ukip could be finished. Ukip has only ever had two MPs, but it held an outside influence on politics: without it, we’d probably never have had the EU referendum. But Brexit has turned Ukip into a single-issue party without an issue. Ukip’s sole remaining MP, Douglas Carswell, left the party in March 2017, and told Sky News’ Adam Boulton that there was “no point” to the party anymore. 

Not everyone in Ukip has given up, though: Nigel Farage told Peston on Sunday that Ukip “will survive”, and current leader Paul Nuttall will be contesting a seat this year. But Ukip is standing in fewer constituencies than last time thanks to a shortage of both money and people. Who benefits if Ukip is finished? It’s likely to be the Tories. 

Is Ukip finished? 

What are Ukip's poll ratings?

Ukip’s poll ratings peaked in June 2016 at 16 per cent. Since the leave campaign’s success, that has steadily declined so that Ukip is going into the 2017 general election on 4 per cent, according to the latest polls. If the polls can be trusted, that’s a serious collapse.

Can Ukip get anymore MPs?

In the 2015 general election Ukip contested nearly every seat and got 13 per cent of the vote, making it the third biggest party (although is only returned one MP). Now Ukip is reportedly struggling to find candidates and could stand in as few as 100 seats. Ukip leader Paul Nuttall will stand in Boston and Skegness, but both ex-leader Nigel Farage and donor Arron Banks have ruled themselves out of running this time.

How many members does Ukip have?

Ukip’s membership declined from 45,994 at the 2015 general election to 39,000 in 2016. That’s a worrying sign for any political party, which relies on grassroots memberships to put in the campaigning legwork.

What does Ukip's decline mean for Labour and the Conservatives? 

The rise of Ukip took votes from both the Conservatives and Labour, with a nationalist message that appealed to disaffected voters from both right and left. But the decline of Ukip only seems to be helping the Conservatives. Stephen Bush has written about how in Wales voting Ukip seems to have been a gateway drug for traditional Labour voters who are now backing the mainstream right; so the voters Ukip took from the Conservatives are reverting to the Conservatives, and the ones they took from Labour are transferring to the Conservatives too.

Ukip might be finished as an electoral force, but its influence on the rest of British politics will be felt for many years yet. 

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