Today, SUMMIT One Vanderbilt, New York City’s newest and most Instagrammable observation deck, opens in the crown of One Vanderbilt — a brand new 1,401-foot tall tower dominating the skyline. Connected directly to Grand Central Terminal, SUMMIT One Vanderbilt is easily accessible by the 4, 5, 6, 7, and S subway lines. The observatory was produced by real estate developer SL Green with its immersive art experience designed by Kenzo Digital and its interior by Snøhetta.
What separates SUMMIT from other observation decks in the city is its design, which features multiple attractions across three floors (the 91st to 93rd floors). One featured attraction is “Air,” described by designer Kenzo Digital, of Kenzo Digital Immersive, as a “Love Letter to New York.” The first chapter of “Air” open for the public to view is “Transcendence.” Mixing transparency and reflectivity, “Transcendence” creates the illusion of boundless space, offering visitors a once-in-a-lifetime experience, unique to the moment in time.
“With Air, I want to create a space that shares the intoxicating sense of aspiration and inspiration that New York gives me with everyone who visits it — a beacon of possibility that pays tribute to all that New York is, can be, will be,” Kenzo Digital said.
“Air” begins after passing through a frictionless, contactless security gate, with visitors being brought up 1,000 feet in a mirrored, light-infused elevator ride in just 42 seconds. Upon arrival at the 91st floor, a winding white tunnel brings visitors to a two-floored mirror experience, with glass mirrors covering every structural surface in sight. Regardless of which direction you look, the streets and skyline of Midtown, Manhattan, and the rest of New York are visible. Depending on the weather, what’s occurring down below on the street, or even what’s going on inside, the space changes color and dimension.
As the sun sets, “Air” comes alive, with a light and sound show taking over that transforms One Vanderbilt into a beacon of energy, visible for all of the city to view. Watching the twinkling lights of the New York skyline from the SUMMIT defamiliarizes the world, opening us up to find a new equilibrium in our lives. The observatory promotes a sense of shared consciousness, forcing all visitors to marvel together at the vast world before them.
“Air is another dimension, where you discover that time rearranges itself as fluidly as the view,” Kenzo Digital said. “Through its boundless, juxtapositions of form, Air compels you to live in the present moment: calm, aware, free.”
Another main attraction at the SUMMIT is “Levitation” — a series of skyboxes that jut out from the envelope of the building, providing views of Madison Avenue from 1,063 feet above. For those brave enough, visitors can ride up the side of the building in a glass elevator called “Ascent.” The elevator travels up to over 1,200 feet in the air, resting at one of the highest viewing points in all of Manhattan. To relax, the SUMMIT Terrace — which wraps around the south and west sides of One Vanderbilt — is a perfect open-air viewing spot, allowing guests to see over 80 miles in the distance from Coney Island to the Bronx Zoo. After exploring the observatory be sure to check out “Après,” a sky-high lounge and cafe featuring light food and cocktails curated by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Events, with an adjacent Nordic-themed lounge and cafe available for dining.
SUMMIT One Vanderbilt will be open Thursday-Sunday, with ticket prices starting at $39 for adults. Special pricing for New York City residents is available online only. Be sure to snag a ticket before they run out.
Next, check out 10 Fun Facts About One Vanderbilt, NYC’s Newest Skyscraper!