One World Observatory Opens In Manhattan

  • Designed by Daniel Libeskind and David Childs, One World Trade in Manhattan's Financial District is now the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.

    Designed by Daniel Libeskind and David Childs, One World Trade in Manhattan's Financial District is now the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.

  • The observatory occupies floors 100 to 102 of the 104-story building.

    The observatory occupies floors 100 to 102 of the 104-story building.

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Last November, One World Trade Center opened as the Western Hemisphere’s tallest building, its mirror-like blue facade and spire rising more than 541 meters above the streets of lower Manhattan. As of May 29, it now offers views of the skyline it reflects with the opening of One World Observatory, New York’s highest vantage point and top new attraction. To get up to its perch on floors 100–102 (the building is 104 stories tall), visitors are whisked up in one of five Sky Pods—among the fastest elevators in the world—whose LED-lit walls show a virtual time-lapse of the skyline’s development over the centuries during the 47-second ascent; the ride down plays a flying, Superman-like lap around the building’s exterior. The Observatory itself comprises a 3-D theater experience, a “concierge” who uses gesture-recognition technology to point out sites, and a floor screen playing live footage of the streets below that when stood upon gives the dizzying effect of looking 380 meters down. But even all this high-tech gadgetry can’t top the views, which take in the entire island and its surrounding boroughs (US$32 per adult). —Gabrielle Lipton

This article originally appeared in the June/July print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“On Top of the World”)

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