We had a program on the second day, the 14th of January, 2022, so we got up early.
There weren't many people at breakfast, but we weren't too few. But we had a leisurely breakfast. The eggs were pretty tasteless, but otherwise, breakfast was terrific!
We went upstairs, dressed, and headed out because we planned to walk. Our destination was SUMMIT One Vanderbilt. It takes 22 minutes to get there (it was a bit more for us, of course!).
We bought our tickets in advance. The price was interesting because the base price was $36, but when we selected the time, it was suddenly $42. In the end, we paid almost $100 for the two tickets (incl. taxes and fees).
But what is One Vanderbilt? One Vanderbilt is a super skyscraper near Grand Central Terminal in New York City. It is the fourth tallest skyscraper in New York (427 meters), the three tallest being One World Trade Center (1,776 ft - 541 meters), Central Park Tower (1,550 ft - 472 meters), and 111 West 57th Street (1,428 ft - 435 meters).
Above the 90th floor are three floor-to-ceiling glass and partially mirrored observation floors called "Summit One Vanderbilt." Summit One Vanderbilt opened on October 21, 2021.
We arrived a few minutes before 9:30 AM and had to wait in line. It was pretty long, but we made relatively quick progress. Here we were handed a wristband with a QR code. Then the line splits in half because some people go to the ticket office and others already have tickets. The larger bags are randomly checked.
After the security check, there is an opportunity to watch a short promotional film (about 2 minutes), which is an excellent way to get in the mood for the experience to follow! If the queue is long, you can still skip it.
You then get a bag to put on your shoes. And if you don't have sunglasses, you get sunglasses too, because when the sun shines, it shines strong everywhere because of the mirror walls.
Important info: during the tour, you can enter three floors and once you leave one of them you can't go back.
Then off to the elevator! There was a queue, but we got in right away!
You ask if anyone is sensitive to flashing lights. The elevator is covered with mirrored panels. There is a light show and sound effects during the ride.
There are three high-speed elevators called "Rise" that take visitors from street level to the 91st floor 😱 at about 1'099 feet (335 meters) in less than 50 seconds. It's brutal! 😀
When we watched the short film below, and there were really mirrors everywhere; it was scary for me because I have a problem with that kind of height, as well as bridges where you can see down. Well, you can imagine. But it was only a little tricky at first, then I totally forgot about it because of the view.
We originally wanted to go to the Empire State Building as well. Still, we realized we didn't have time for another visit. But after this experience, we might not want to go there.
It's just phenomenal!!! We have been to a similar viewpoint in Los Angeles before (we were "only" on the 69th and 70th floor of the now, unfortunately, closed OUE Skyspace).
We were fortunate because the weather was beautiful. Perfectly clear, sunny - so it was blinding and reflective, but you can see everything so well in all directions that there are no words!
The only "problem" was the jackets. It was crazy hot up here and freezing outside, so we were well dressed, but here you had to take off your jackets, which wasn't very comfortable.
So there are 9 stations on 3 levels:
The 91st and 92nd floors are occupied by "Summit Air," Kenzo Digital art installation of the senses.
Transcendence 1 (Structureless World of Reflection): This vast room has mirrors on the walls all over and floor-to-ceiling glass windows. The view is spectacular! From the 91st floor, you could see the cars, the skaters in Bryant Park, and the mass of skyscrapers. The mirrors on the floor and ceiling greatly enhance the effect. This place offers endless photo opportunities and an absolutely unique way to see New York.
The Chrysler Building, Queens and Brooklyn to the east, the Empire State Building and Lower Manhattan to the south, and Hudson Yards, the Hudson River, and New Jersey to the west.
Tip (more for summer): watch what you wear! Especially the girls: forget short skirts and dresses; you'll walk on a mirrored floor! For those who are uncomfortable on mirrored floors, there is good news: there is also a way without mirrors! (I thought I would feel this way, but thankfully I didn't)!
Once you've had your fill of Reflect, a slightly more relaxed experience awaits you at the next station, called Reflect (still on the same floor) and much smaller than the previous one. You can view Yayoi Kusama's "Clouds" art installation on the floor while taking in the gorgeous view.
The next place is Balloon Affinity Room, with large silver balls floating in the air. Like Transcendence, the mirrored floor and ceiling enhance the dramatic effect.
Especially when some balloons pop. 😄
You can have an excellent time here as well.
After that, we had to go to the restroom. On this floor, the men's room is also designed to offer a view of the skyscrapers. This is great!
From here, you take the escalator or elevator up one floor, and then you get to Transcendence 2: limitless space - mirrored 92nd floor with a view of the 91st floor.
Then comes the most exciting part: Levitation. Two glass-floored balconies jutting out of the facade 1,115 feet (340 meters) above the ground, offering views down Madison Avenue.
Everyone unloads their stuff on the floor; you first have to stand in line for an obligatory photo, which, of course, you can buy at the end. Then you have 30 seconds to take your own photos (this was supposedly not possible before. True, the 30 seconds go by very quickly). We didn't even look at the obligatory photo then. We know that they are overpriced in places like this.
The next stop is UNITY: Before entering, you must scan your wristband. We didn't quite understand why this was necessary. You enter Unity, where you practically feel like you're in the clouds, and we've since figured out that you're supposed to look for your face in the clouds. We saw that there were face shapes in the clouds, but it was not clear that we should find our own face there.
But next time, sure 😀
Here we return to the escalators to get to the last 93rd floor.
Here are also toilets with floor-to-ceiling windows at the corner of the building. The best panorama you can see from a restroom!
So after that, we go up the escalator. The 93rd floor has an open-air terrace Aprés. A bar, and a restaurant, as well as the Ascent: two outdoor elevators made of glass that go up a distance from here, equivalent to about eight stories, offering a unique view of Manhattan (no exit or entry at the top).
If you bought an Ultimate SUMMIT ticket, you can order a cocktail here. One can also buy snacks, sandwiches, coffee, wine, and soft drinks.
The outdoor terrace offers a breathtaking panoramic view of Manhattan behind a glass wall. We first went to the deck, where we nearly froze to death in a few moments.
From there, we returned for a coffee and sandwich, which we enjoyed in the company of the beautiful view and warm sun.
From other reviews, we only know that the panorama is tremendous but similar to the view from the terrace. And there are other places from where you can see Manhattan from even higher. (For example, from the Edge Terrace, One World Observatory, or the 102nd floor of the Empire State Building.)
We don't think that the view is the big attraction, but the fact that the glass elevator is outside the building!
So we walked through the gift store, and that's where you get to the computer monitors where you can view (and buy) the photos. Finally, you're in front of the elevator. We had to wait in line this time, and after a whirlwind lift accompanied by light and sound effects, we landed again.
It's really worth paying for! A perfect experience!