100 Floors Up, Looking Down

“The spectator who arrived, panting, at this pinnacle,
saw a dazzling abundance of roofs, chimneys, streets, bridges, squares, and clock towers. Everything drew
to the eye at once.”

—from The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” 1831
by Victor Hugo (1802–1895)

One World Trade Center, 9/11, Twin Towers, 9/11 Memorial, See Forever, One World Observatory, Downtown Manhattan, 50 Mile Views, Walk About New York

Once Bedloe’s Island, it is now called Liberty Island because of France’s gift to the U.S.A.

One World Trade Center, 9/11, Twin Towers, 9/11 Memorial, See Forever, One World Observatory, Downtown Manhattan, 50 Mile Views, Walk About New York

Governor’s Island fills the foreground, with the Verrazano–Narrows Bridge in the distance.

For years before and for some years following the publication of Mr. Hugo’s novel, the Cathedral of Notre-Dame was the highest, man-made point in Paris. The above quoted passage allows the reader a view of Paris in 1482 from the cathedral’s towers.

One World Trade Center, 9/11, Twin Towers, 9/11 Memorial, See Forever, One World Observatory, Downtown Manhattan, 50 Mile Views, Walk About New York

The Staten Island Ferry approaches the terminal at Whitehall Street.

One World Trade Center, 9/11, Twin Towers, 9/11 Memorial, See Forever, One World Observatory, Downtown Manhattan, 50 Mile Views, Walk About New York

Verrazano–Narrows Bridge is silhouetted against the waters of the Atlantic.

Unimaginably higher than Victor Hugo’s Quasimodo could have dreamed, on a recent sunny Wednesday afternoon I was looking out from the 100th floor of One World Trade Center. This is the Western Hemisphere’s tallest building. Just as Monsieur Hugo wrote about the view from Notre-Dame, “Everything drew to the eye at once.” There was so much to look at, so much to marvel at!

One World Trade Center, 9/11, Twin Towers, 9/11 Memorial, See Forever, One World Observatory, Downtown Manhattan, 50 Mile Views, Walk About New York

Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, in the middle ground, covers 526 acres.

One World Trade Center, 9/11, Twin Towers, 9/11 Memorial, See Forever, One World Observatory, Downtown Manhattan, 50 Mile Views, Walk About New York

The Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges cross the East River.

Opened to the public on May 29, 2015, One World Observatory offers spectacular, wraparound views. The three-level, $86 million observation complex is operated by Legends, a management company of sport stadiums. Its motto is ‘See Forever.’ Although a 50-mile vista is not forever, it is spectacular nonetheless. Stretching into the distance views of New Jersey to New York State’s Rockland and Westchester counties to the coast of Connecticut and the Long Island Sound to Queens, Long Island, Brooklyn, the New York Harbor, and the Atlantic Ocean await visitors.

One World Trade Center, 9/11, Twin Towers, 9/11 Memorial, See Forever, One World Observatory, Downtown Manhattan, 50 Mile Views, Walk About New York

New York’s City Hall has known many snowy roofs since its completion in 1811.

One World Trade Center, 9/11, Twin Towers, 9/11 Memorial, See Forever, One World Observatory, Downtown Manhattan, 50 Mile Views, Walk About New York

The Municipal Building is a Beaux-Arts masterpiece by McKim, Mead and White.

Over an eight-year period it took 26,000 people to build One World Trade Center. It missed its self-imposed completion deadlines, and went over budget several times. Originally expected to cost $3 billion, the final tab for the tower has come in just under $4 billion. The building topped out in August 2012. A spire, whose length is calculated into the height, lifts the total to 1,776 feet, 400 feet more than the Twin Towers. The spire is likened to a church’s steeple, although not inhabitable, it is still part of the building.

One World Trade Center, 9/11, Twin Towers, 9/11 Memorial, See Forever, One World Observatory, Downtown Manhattan, 50 Mile Views, Walk About New York

St. Paul’s Chapel, where Washington prayed after inauguration, and its graveyard.

One World Trade Center, 9/11, Twin Towers, 9/11 Memorial, See Forever, One World Observatory, Downtown Manhattan, 50 Mile Views, Walk About New York

Four compass points on the black terrazzo floor help aim the visitor in the right direction.

There are only limited references to the area’s previous occupants, the Twin Towers. That fateful day, September 11, 2001, when terrorist-hijacked planes slammed into the Towers, is briefly mentioned. The National September 11th Memorial and Museum are close at hand; there is no lack of reminders of the tragedy that the city and nation suffered. High-tech gadgetry throughout the observatory focus on the hope and optimism reflected in a building and a city that rose from the ruins of the nation’s deadliest terror attack. Attention is on the present: the stunning and joyful views.

One World Trade Center, 9/11, Twin Towers, 9/11 Memorial, See Forever, One World Observatory, Downtown Manhattan, 50 Mile Views, Walk About New York

Your guide Phil with the view north, toward Midtown Manhattan.

One World Trade Center, 9/11, Twin Towers, 9/11 Memorial, See Forever, One World Observatory, Downtown Manhattan, 50 Mile Views

This view includes SoHo, Greenwich Village, and Midtown, with the Empire Sate Building.

Over the past 30 years or more many boxy, cold, glass buildings— both residential and commercial—have risen. In spite of this, it is refreshing and remarkable that the overall color impression of New York, when seen from this vantage point, remains a warm reddish-brown. Brick and stone are human-friendly building material.

For children ages 6 to 12 admission is $26; while visitors ages 13 to 64 will pay $32. Those who are 65 and older pay $30; anyone 5 and under enters free, but must have a ticket. Prices are within the ranges for New York’s longer-established, Midtown observatories, the Empire State Building and Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center.

One World Trade Center, 9/11, Twin Towers, 9/11 Memorial, See Forever, One World Observatory, Downtown Manhattan, 50 Mile Views

The Mighty Hudson River is crossed by the George Washington Bridge.

One World Trade Center, 9/11, Twin Towers, 9/11 Memorial, See Forever, One World Observatory, Downtown Manhattan, 50 Mile Views

One of the Holland Tunnel’s air vent tower stands on the New Jersey side of the river.

On the 101st floor three eateries are available, but only to guests with tickets to the One World Observatory. Repetitively named, they are, One Café: serving sandwiches, coffee, bottled water, pastry, etc. in an informal setting; One Mix, offering small samplings of food that says, “New York;” and One Dine is a steakhouse dining experience.

One World Trade Center, 9/11, Twin Towers, 9/11 Memorial, See Forever, One World Observatory, Downtown Manhattan, 50 Mile Views

New Jersey stretches out beyond Jersey City, with its fare share of office towers.

A visit to One World Observatory can be part of your Specialty Tour. Contact us; together we will design a tour just for you, your friends and family, or your group or organization. During our Downtown Manhattan Walking Tour great views of One World Trade Center can be had. Take the Tour; Know More!

ALL PHOTOS AND TEXT © THE AUTHOR 2016

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