Views (and booze) from the top

insta manhattan

A look north from the 100th floor of One World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan, with the Empire State Building front and center.

I’m not one for heights. So what better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than from the top of the tallest building in the Western hemisphere?

My stomach is still settling. But it was a chance to show off some Instagram skills.

The experience actually begins underground, in the “rock” foundation of the 1,776-foot building. Then, you’re crammed into an elevator that takes you from the lower level to the 102nd floor in about 50 seconds — apparently, one of the fastest elevators in the world. Your ears pop and your sinuses feel out of whack.

On your way up, the monitors surrounding the elevator give you a 360-degree view of the evolution of Manhattan. Pretty epic ride.

insta brooklyn

Looking east toward Brooklyn from the One World Observatory. From left to right, the Williamsburg Bridge, Manhattan Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge cross the East River.

One World Observatory stretches over three levels. The full views are on the 100th floor, a continuous circle where you can see unobstructed views of everything. My view was on a clear day with few clouds. I allowed the tourist inside me to take over, trying to see some hidden landmarks among the mass of tens of thousands of buildings far below. I kind of picked out my Brooklyn apartment from that high up.

One of the guides said the observation deck was actually lower than in the original tower. Also, the original tower had an outdoor observatory.

Just… no.

I also swear that I felt the building sway. But maybe that was just psychological.

It’s a moderate investment, but one well worth the experience (even with a moderate fear of heights). There’s a restaurant at the top, in addition to a more casual (and tasty) cafe.

And a bar, to settle the nerves as you look 1,200 feet to the ground below.


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