New York on Top: The Edge

A recent kerfuffle about NYC – will it survive the economic fallout of Covid-19 – might be settled by a visit to The Edge. This new vantage point, 100 stories high, just reopened after a very brief premiere in March.

And on a gorgeous afternoon, the reduced capacity observation deck, atop Hudson Yards, attracted sold-out crowds.

These were crowds with masks, social distancing, and one way paths, with elevators limited to four at a time (if you have a large group, you can ride together).

The glass floor on the sky deck

The highest outdoor sky deck in the Western Hemisphere

The Edge is on the 100th floor of the retail Hudson Yards complex. You take the elevator to the 4th floor, where you scan your tickets, and then go up, up to over 1,100 feet. Having run up and down The Vessel, the sculpture just outside The Edge, I had a tiny sense of how high we would be going.

Ticket cost

Timed tickets are $36 for adults, $34 for kids ages 6-12. NYC residents save $2 on these prices. There are also flex passes, where you can come any time, and packages with a glass of champagne (adults only) AND flexible admission. These can reach into the stratosphere.

I used a CityPASS C3 ticket to get into The Edge. The pass is $87 per person and is good for three attractions (from a list of 12). You have 30 days to use the passes. Although the CityPASS is supposed to just be for general admission, it was treated s a flex ticket – I could get in although the time slot was sold out.

The “pre-show” experience

Water saving at Hudson Yards

Before getting on the elevator, we were directed through a short history of the Hudson Yards, and panels explaining how rainwater collection and tree planting are improving the area.

The walkway is intentionally dim, I assume, so the light really hits you when you go up the elevator.

The elevator ride, a ride like no other

The ‘pre-show’ – info before the view

My favorite elevator ride – OK, least objectionable ride (I am extremely claustrophobic) used to be the ride to the Top of the Rock, with the glass ceiling. Maybe it was the emotion of being in an honest to goodness NYC tourist trap – er, attraction – but I was near tears as the elevator soared up. We were instructed to face the back. A moving line showed us our vertical climb and music swelled.

On Top, at Last

It’s a different micro climate so high, and windy

Well, sort of. When we got off the elevator, there were great views of the city. But they were not THE views. We were still inside. And there was a long line. And another long line. We actually waited close to an hour to get to the outdoor sky deck.

BUT. The views were worth it. Incredible.

At this height all other buildings look small

Be sure to look at how the sky deck juts out over the city with nothing below it. This is quite an engineering feat. The glass walls are angled out so you really feel like you’re suspended above the city.

There are three places where the edges stick out even further, and guess what? You have to wait on another line if you want to see this view (and take the requisite Instagram photo.

West Side Story: looking to the west side, past the George Washington Bridge

Then there’s the glass floor, where you can look straight down 100 flights. Security was helping people socially distance here, and take photos. You have to pop yourself down – you are literally sitting on top of the world.

If you go later in the day, or you’re a committed early day drinker, there’s a champagne bar on the sky deck.

I think I need to return at sunset for this.

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