Highest sky deck in Western Hemisphere dares visitors to live on the edge
Hudson Yards still has a trick or two up its sleeve.
On Wednesday, the development in Manhattan’s far West side, marked by shiny high-rise buildings and the Vessel, a curiously-shaped landmark with a lot of stairs, presents a new offering.
One hundred floors up, and over 1,100 feet in the air, Edge has built-in bragging rights: It is, after all, the highest outdoor observation deck in the Western Hemisphere. Take that One World Observatory and Willis Tower.
The outdoor space edges (get it?) out into Manhattan, approximately 80 feet, with head-spinning 360-degree views of the city’s skyline and beyond.
Adrenaline seekers will want to beeline to the triangular glass floor at the center of it all, the space’s indisputable showstopper.
The glass floor, CNN has been told, is basically indestructible. You can jump up and down on it, lie flat and watch the cars moving below like ants. Or you might simply marvel at how surprisingly challenging it is to take that first step — even if you’re not afraid of heights, even if you know the floor is totally solid.
Walk on the glass, take a picture for the ‘Gram or just enjoy a flute (well, in this case, a plastic cup because safety first) of Champagne as you look out over Manhattan, New Jersey and Brooklyn.
Designed by KFP and Rockwell Group, Edge is more than a place to get a stellar view of the city. Even New York City residents who scoff at the small price reduction may be satisfied with the bang-to-buck ratio.
“We really don’t want people to think of us as an observation deck,” says Jason Horkin, VP of Hudson Yards Experiences, underscoring Edge’s desire for distinction.
Providing an immersive experience, the Edge journey starts after you show your ticket ($38 is the base fee for adults, with various discounts) and make your way toward the sleek elevators.
On your way, look up, and you’ll see an 80-foot-long map celebrating Manhattan, various lights hovering over the city’s vibrant neighborhoods.
A tunnel-like walkway offers both audio and visual stimulants — think the speed of sound (trains moving) and the smooth, almost soothing sounds of construction.
Fifty-two seconds is the amount of time you’ll spend going up in the elevator, and it’s a fast, entertaining ride at that. To prepare visitors for what they’re about to see, the elevator ride doubles as a mini cinema experience.
Turn your back to the doors and watch as the elevators’ walls come alive as screens of New York City’s famous landmarks are built from the ground up via animated sketches that transform into sharp photographic images.
“As the elevator nears level 100, clouds replace the city view, and visitors feel as though they are in the sky as the elevator doors open,” reads a line in a press statement describing the journey.
The return trip, also less than a minute long, features a different show, this time starting with clouds and taking guests on an immersive walk on the Highline before ultimately delivering them to the front of the Vessel’s entrance.
It’s a reminder of the area’s nearby tourist attractions but also an innovative way to wrap up a trip to Manhattan’s sky.
Hudson Yards is located on the 7 train (one of the city’s newest subway stations), so it’s no surprise that 7 train swag is a prominently featured item in the two retails areas.
Merchandise is for sale on the 100th floor and on the fourth floor, where visitors with tickets show up during their pre-selected window of time. Everything from a cropped sweatshirt with an outline of Hudson Yards ($65) to a baseball cap with the number 7 in purple ($25) to a baller chess set with Hudson Yards’ buildings serving as chess pieces ($1200) is available for purchase.
The whole shop (upstairs and down) is very New York-y, with lots to promote the neighborhood and Edge itself but with enough on offer to satisfy the New York City generalist too. All items for purchase are only available on-site.
Although visitors sign up for an arrival time slot (high rollers can spend an extra $20 for entry any time of day or night) and only be allowed up during that window with a potential for some waiting, lingering is encouraged. Horkin says they anticipate visitors going left off the elevator and heading outside first. The space has been designed accordingly with a significant amount of open flooring both indoors and out.
Many will first make a pit stop at the food and drink bar, where Champagne for $20 or $30 a pop can be bought and taken outside to be enjoyed with the view.
The Champagne bar’s menu includes such kid-friendly favorites as Welches Mixed Gummy Fruit snacks and M&Ms, and a full-service restaurant one floor up is another way to take in the view with more substantial fare.
Benches on the main viewing deck are another place to chill with your drink or Kind bar, but the real thrills are found upon pressing your face up to the angled glass walls.
If one area of the 3,000 square feet of glass sectioned into 79 panels doesn’t make your jaw drop, simply move on to another — there’s an angle here for everyone.