First look: new One World Trade Center Observatory
Soon after visitors walk into
"I was there when it came down," says Jorge Fernandez, referring to the original World Trade Center, which was destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001.
Working on One World Trade Center in the same complex where the Twin Towers once stood was an "opportunity" he could not pass up, he says in one of the many testimonials.
It's been 14 years since New Yorkers and guests of New York have been able to gaze upon the whole city from a skyscraper in lower
May 29 will mark the long-awaited opening of One World Observatory inside One World Trade Center.
One World Trade Center is now the tallest building in New York and one of the tallest in the world. Its antenna catapults it to a height of 1,776 feet, a symbolic move to honor the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Visiting the observatory
Visitors will get panoramic views from 1,250 feet above ground from the observatory, located on floors 100, 101 and 102.
When they first pass security, they will enter the Global Welcome Center, where a large video screen will greet them in 10 languages while a world map highlights their homelands (using data relayed from ticket scans). That's followed by entering a cave-like walkway called Foundations, where facts about the bedrock on which the building stands are projected onto the rocks that make up the walls.
From there they will get to five elevators called Sky Pods. Carrying 15 people each, the pods will take them to the 102nd floor in less than a minute. Floor-to-ceiling LED technology in each elevator will offer a time-lapse of the development of New York's skyline from the 1500s to today.
"You get 500 years of history in 47 seconds," said David Checketts, chairman and CEO of Legends, during a sneak peak of the space on Monday. Legends operates the observatory.
Next, visitors will be ushered into the See Forever Theater, where they will see a two-minute video made up of bird's-eye imagery and time-lapse shots showing life in New
Taking ground-level to new heights
Technology is used in interesting ways all over the observatory.
There are two interactive "concierge" stations on the 100th floor. At City Pulse, ambassadors will be stationed inside a ring of high-definition video monitors showing scenes from throughout the city and recommendations for dining, sightseeing or simply acting like a local.
About 20 ambassadors have been trained in gesture-recognition technology to pull the appropriate imagery onto the screens. Their choices will be guided by requests from the audience.
The recommendations will change regularly and real-time Twitter feeds will be displayed.
"We're on top of the clouds," said Whit Baldwin, a City Pulse coach, during a demonstration. "City Pulse is going to show you New York in ways you would not have dreamed of."
On the same floor, guests can also stand on a Sky Portal, a 14-foot-wide circular disc that offers views of the streets below, also in real-time.
"This floor is about using technology to teach people about New York, to present New York in the best possible light," Checketts says.
Visitors will also have three dining options on the 101st floor. One Cafe will have made-to-order items such as sandwiches and salads. One Mix will be a casual dining area with tapas and cocktails. And One Dine will serve gourmet cuisine.
Adults aged 13 to 64 will pay $32. Children between 6 and 12 will pay $26. Admission for seniors 65 and above will be $30. Guests 5 and under will enter for free.
The observatory will be open year-round. Until Sept. 7, hours will be 9 a.m. to midnight seven days a week with the last ticket sold at 11:15 p.m.
Non-summer operating hours are from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week with the last ticket sold at 7:15 p.m.
Relatives of 9/11 victims and the rescue workers who responded to the attack will enter for free.
For more information: OneWorldObservatory.com
Last edited: 21/05/2015