In a new website feature, TIME magazine provides a breathtaking, panoramic view of New York City.
The 360-degree moving image was taken atop of 1 World Trade Center, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and a steel-and-glass memorial to the Twin Towers that once stood nearby.
Jonathan D. Woods and Michael Franz for TIME
"When you step out onto that platform for the first time, it’s just like you can see the whole world up there," Jonathan Woods, TIME's senior photo and interactive editor, told TODAY.
Last May, TODAY’s Matt Lauer made his way up 104 floors inside the tower to witness construction crews place the last of a 408-foot tall spire on the tower. The building now stands at a symbolic 1,776 feet, a nod to the year America signed the Declaration of Independence. The new building is just north of the original towers, now the hallowed ground known as Ground Zero.
In early 2013, TIME set out to take an unprecedented image from the top of the tower. They created special equipment that would stabilize a camera that could clear photos despite 25 mph winds, the building's vibrations and numerous other challenges.
Woods called the process "insanely difficult."
"It's not like we can just climb up there and go take a look at it and try something on. This was a one-and-done deal," he said.
On Sept. 28, 2013, the camera snapped more than 500 photos over a five-hour span. Photographers then spent weeks stitching together the photos into one massive — and zoomable — panoramic image.