Edge, the highest outdoor observation deck in the Western Hemisphere, reopens to the public at noon Wednesday. One hundred floors up, and over 1,100 feet in the air, Edge, in Manhattan’s far West Side, was only open for a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment before the city shut down.
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.
Rivaling One World Observatory and Willis Tower, Edge may just be Hudson Yard’s shining star now that so much of the area has shuttered amid the pandemic.
The public opening on Wednesday followed an August 30 performance in the space by The Weeknd as part of the live-streamed 2020 MTV Video Music Awards.
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.
Floor markings, a new addition meant to help maintain appropriate social distance between visitors and employees, may give you more time to muster courage for that first step onto the glass.
Masks are also now a required part of the experience, and Edge will have complimentary face coverings available in case you forget yours.
Journey to 100
Edge tickets are timed to help with the flow of traffic, and there are all sorts of interesting bits to distract guests even before they get to the top.
Courtesy of Related-Oxford
Designed by KPF 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 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.
Advance purchase ($36 for adults) is encouraged, but on-site tickets are available for $38 with various discounts. As a thank you to the country’s essential workers, US healthcare workers with valid ID get in for free through 2020.
Fifty-two seconds is the amount of time you’ll spend going up in the (limited capacity) 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 minicinema 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.
The 7 train
Edge in Hudson Yards is open 365 days a year. Current hours are 12 pm to 8 pm.
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.
All concessions have been moved outside for now. Champagne for $20 or $30 a pop, for example, can be enjoyed with the view.
A picture taken during construction shows the glass floor in the center of the deck.
The Champagne bar’s menu includes such kid-friendly favorites as Welches Mixed Gummy Fruit snacks and M&Ms. Masks can be removed when actively eating or drinking.
Benches on the main viewing deck are another place to chill with your drink or Kind bar, but the real thrills are found as close to the area’s angled glass walls as you can get.
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.