New skyscraper observation deck takes the crown for best view of New York City

Coming soon to a skyscraper near you — a brand-new observation deck with maybe the best height-and-location combination in town.

Summit One Vanderbilt, which calls itself “the most immersive observatory” experience,” will open its doors on Oct. 21 atop One Vanderbilt, the 1,401-foot tall tower at Vanderbilt Avenue and East 42nd Street next to Grand Central Terminal.

The three-level, 65,000 square-foot eyeballs-exciter takes up the 91st through 93rd floors. Mirrors, reflective panels and floor cut-outs create a fun-house effect that plays with your sense of location and height.

A transparent-glass elevator called Ascent whisks visitors even higher, to the loftiest viewing point in Midtown at 1,200 feet above the street. Scarier still, “sky boxes” on the 92nd floor project outward from the tower’s facade to allow knees-knocking views straight down to Madison Avenue through floors of transparent glass. Marc Holliday, the CEO of One Vanderbilt developer SL Green, assured us they can support weights up to 12,000 pounds.

Summit, the 1000-foot-high, 3-level observatory is seen in public relations photos released Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. Summit is opening in October at top of One Vanderbilt in New York.
The three-level, 65,000 square-foot eyeballs-exciter takes up the 91st through 93rd floors.
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Evan Joseph
Summit, the 1000-foot-high, 3-level observatory is seen in public relations photos released Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. Summit is opening in October at top of One Vanderbilt in New York.
An open-air terrace wraps around the building’s south and west sides.
Evan Joseph

A lounge run by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Events will offer “elevated” snacks and bar service on the 93rd floor, both indoors and on an open-air terrace that’s wrapped around the building’s south and west sides.

Summit guests will also experience Air, a multi-sensory installation designed by Kenzo Digital that combines transparency, reflectivity and media effects to create “the illusion of boundless space.”

Under a clear sky, we saw everything from a taxi opening its doors 1,100 feet below to Jones Beach 40 miles distant — plus the Chrysler Building and thousands of other structures, great and small, reduced to toys.

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Summit, the 1000-foot-high, 3-level observatory is seen in public relations photos released Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. Summit is opening in October at top of One Vanderbilt in New York.
A transparent-glass elevator called Ascent whisks visitors to the loftiest viewing point in Midtown at 1,200 feet above the street.
Evan Joseph

The Summit vista also took in Manhattan’s other top-floor observatories — a growing crop that includes One World Trade Center, the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center’s Top of the Rock and the most recently opened, The Edge at Hudson Yards.

But Summit’s Grand Central location can’t be beat. It excites your imagination about New York City — and makes you fall in love with the place all over again.

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