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Dizzying glass box observatory to open high above New York

Tamara Hardingham-Gill, CNN

Why settle for one sky-high attraction when you can have three inside one building?

That certainly seems to be the thinking behind Summit One Vanderbilt, which is set to open at Manhattan’s One Vanderbilt tower on October 21.

Billed as the “world’s most immersive observatory experience,” New York’s latest observation deck features an all-glass enclosed elevator that travels to over 1,200 feet, transparent glass boxes and a room covered entirely with mirrors.

The latter is part of newly-announced art installation “Air,” designed by artist Kenzo Digital and described as “a walk-through art experience and story of both literal and figurative reflection.”

“The excitement surrounding Summit One Vanderbilt has been overwhelming,” Marc Holliday, chairman and CEO of SL Green, the Manhattan-based real estate investment trust that owns the building, said in a statement.

Awe-inspiring experiences

“Now that we are finally able to offer a glimpse into the awe-inspiring, multi-level and multi-room immersive art experience that is ‘Air,’ people will begin to understand how different this destination is from any other in the world.”

Visitors can also take a glass elevator ride in Ascent, which moves up the outside of the building and offers thrilling views, or experience Levitation, a collection of transparent boxes that jut out of the tower, suspending guests 1,063 feet into the air.

“We can’t wait to welcome New Yorkers and visitors to New York to experience this truly unique destination right in the heart of Manhattan connected to Grand Central Terminal,” adds Holliday.

“People are going to want to come back to Summit One Vanderbilt again and again.”

Each of the attractions form part of the 65,000-square-foot entertainment area and observation deck located at the peak of One Vanderbilt, a $3.3 billion development designed by architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates.

At 1,401 feet high, the building is the fourth tallest in New York City. The tallest is One World Trade Center, which measures 1,776 feet.

‘Incredible addition’

Aside from its thrill-seeking highlights, Summit One Vanderbilt also features a Nordic-themed lounge and café, food stalls and and an outdoor terrace with the “highest urban alpine meadow in the Western hemisphere.”

When the project was first unveiled back in May, Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company, the organization behind the “NYC Reawakens” summer campaign, said he hoped the launch of the attraction would help to boost tourism in the city.

“New York City will be full of energy this fall, and Summit One Vanderbilt is an incredible addition to its attractions for locals and visitors,” Dixon said in a statement.

The observatory experience is to launch weeks after a 98-foot-high (30 meter) Ferris wheel temporarily installed in the middle of the Times Square, which attracted thousands of people a day, was taken down to make way for the reopening of Broadway.

New York is home to a number of impressive observatory decks including the Top of the Rock observatory at the Rockefeller Center, where the upper decks stand 850 feet above street level, and the 102nd-floor observation deck at the Empire State Building, which is positioned 1,250 feet above street level.

Tickets for the Summit One Vanderbilt experiences have just gone on sale ahead of its launch next month, with prices starting at $39 for adults.

Top image courtesy SL Green

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