New York City is getting another thrilling observation deck this fall that’s unlike anything else

May 21, 2021

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New York City has no shortage of observation decks, but an entirely new interpretation of the experience is rising in Midtown Manhattan – and TPG was invited to get an early look.

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(Photo by Melanie Lieberman/The Points Guy)

From the top of a gleaming new skyscraper above Grand Central Terminal, near the geographic centre of New York City, I saw the city in an entirely new way.

To my right, a rare aerial view of Bryant Park. To my left, the scalloped dome of the art deco Chrysler Building. To the south, the World Trade Center rising from the tip of Manhattan. To the north, Central Park and, beyond that, the undulating hills of the Hudson Valley. It felt like I was at the centre of the universe.

(Photo by Melanie Lieberman/The Points Guy)

And all around me, there were reminders of how very high up I was standing at Summit One Vanderbilt, an immersive, four-story and 65,000-square-foot space near the top of a 1,401-foot-tall skyscraper featuring innovative new ways to view the city. Even if you’ve been to all of New York City’s observation decks (I have), you haven’t seen one quite like this.

(Photo by Melanie Lieberman/The Points Guy)

Summit One Vanderbilt isn’t the highest observation deck in New York City – that distinction is still held by One World Trade Center. It isn’t the highest outdoor observation deck, either. You’ll have to head to Edge at Hudson Yards for that experience.

But, it does promise entirely new kinds of thrills for visitors (and locals) who want to ascend to New York City’s greatest heights.

Here, you can step out into transparent “sky boxes” called Levitation that suspend you over one of the city’s main thoroughfares. It’s the only place in Manhattan where you can look directly down at Madison Avenue, says Jason Hackett, senior vice president, director of sales and marketing at Summit One Vanderbilt.

(Photo courtesy of Summit One Vanderbilt/SL Green Realty Corp)

During the tour, Hackett also pointed out the property’s truly AvGeek-worthy appeal: On a clear day or night, you might be able to see the area’s major airports from the outdoor, glass-walled observation deck, which will also be home to an outdoor bar (expect a signature cocktail to accompany the view).

It’s also not uncommon to see a helicopter zip by at eye level, I’m told.

(Photo courtesy of Summit One Vanderbilt/SL Green Realty Corp)

Summit One Vanderbilt will also welcome thrill-seekers to Ascent, an all-glass elevator that whisks visitors along the side of the skyscraper to an even higher 1,210-foot vantage point during a five-minute ride. 

(Photo by Melanie Lieberman/The Points Guy)

In addition to the stunning new vantage point for views of some of New York City’s most iconic landmarks, Summit One Vanderbilt will also have an “immersive art installation” by Kenzo Digital and a food and beverage program led by hospitality icon and restaurateur Danny Meyer’s Union Square Events (plus a new restaurant, Le Pavillon by chef Daniel Boulud, opened in the tower this week).

(Photo courtesy of Summit One Vanderbilt/SL Green Realty Corp)

Expected to welcome guests on 21 October, Hackett says Summit One Vanderbilt is arriving during an “amazing moment” for New York. After all, Broadway is preparing to reopen, people are returning to the city in droves and the energy, we can all agree, is palpable. It’s “a clarion call for the city,” Hackett said.

(Photo courtesy of Summit One Vanderbilt/SL Green Realty Corp)

Pricing for tickets to Summit One Vanderbilt is not yet available, but Hackett says the tickets will be comparable to other observation decks around the city, most of which start between $36 (£25) and $42 (£30) for adults. Tickets will go on sale this summer, and there will likely be different tiers, such as a VIP experience that includes access to Ascent. You can register for the chance to experience Summit OneVanderbilt before it officially opens at SummitOV.com.

“We have created a destination … with the best, amplified views in all of New York City,” said Marc Holliday, chairman and CEO of SL Green Realty Corp (the building’s developer) in a statement. “Summit One Vanderbilt … is a special, thrilling place that New Yorkers and travellers from across the country and the world will want to visit time and time again.”

Feature photo by Melanie Lieberman/The Points Guy.

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