New York City’s newest observation deck, SUMMIT, atop One Vanderbilt is almost ready for its grand opening on October 21st with ticketing opening today. Differentiating itself from the other existing observation decks across New York City, SUMMIT One Vanderbilt is designed as an immersive experience with multiple attractions within three floors (the 91st to 93rd floors), all designed to thrill.
One of the first attractions shown to the public was “Levitation” consists of foot-tingling, perfectly transparent sky boxes that make it seem like you are floating over a thousand feet above Madison Avenue. With two side-by-side sky boxes, you can capture photographs looking straight on to the sky boxes, or from the other sky box looking in.
The newest part of SUMMIT, entitled “Air” is an Instagrammer’s dream — a fully mirrored room that feels like you’ve stepped into an M.C. Escher creation (bring your sunglasses on a very sunny day). Air is designed by Kenzo Digital, of Kenzo Digital Immersive, who told us on a press visit a few days ago that he envisions it as a “Love letter to New York.” The experience of “Air” unfolds in multiple chapters, beginning right after you pass through a frictionless, contactless security gate, with a full sound and light journey through a hallway that leads to an elevator. The elevator takes you up 1,000 feet in just 42 seconds, with the immersive experience continuing.
At the 91st floor, you enter the two-floor mirrored experience. It’s a full, disorienting immersion into Midtown Manhattan, where the streets are simultaneously below and above you, the sky is all around you, and the people you see can be strangers walking on the streets a thousand feet below, someone you came with, or people standing above you. “It’s meant to be different every time you go…it’s like a living organism.,” says Kenzo. The space changes color and dimension depending on the weather, what’s happening in the city below, and what’s happening in the space itself. It may be one of the few observation decks where “you would want to be here” for a thunderstorm, predicts Kenzo. There will be additional chapters of “Air” which will be ready by the opening date.
The final thrill seeking highlight begins off the open-air, wrap-around terrace on the 93rd floor (outside of the Snøhetta-designed Nordic-themed cafe curated by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Events). “Ascent” is a large glass elevator with a transparent floor that takes guests up the side of One Vanderbilt to a spot over 1,200 feet in the air.
If immersive experiences are not your thing, the views from Summit are worth it, provided the close proximity the skyscraper now provides to iconic, landmark skyscrapers like the Chrysler Building (which has yet to get its own observation deck back) and the Empire State Building. There are new perspectives of the Met Life Building, 432 Park Avenue, and other buildings, as well as views north to Central Park and beyond..
Summit is the latest opening inside One Vanderbilt, a skyscraper by SL Green located just next to Grand Central Terminal. In May of this year, Le Pavillon, a restaurant from Daniel Boulud opened. Tickets to Summit will be $39 with special pricing for New York City residents and you can pop by after or before one of our tours of the Secrets of Grand Central!