In 1931, the New York City skyline changed forever with the completion of the Empire State Building. Located in Midtown Manhattan, the 1,454-foot (443.2m) building was not only the city’s tallest at the time, but boasted  the highest observation deck in the world. People travelled to New York simply to go 1,250 feet (381 m) up the building and then look down at the busy streets below. Since then, New York City’s skyline has been transformed a number of times, most recently, with the construction of two of its tallest buildings, both with observation decks, called The Edge and The Summit.

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On the Edge

Opened in March 2020, The Edge is on the 100th floor of 30 Hudson Yards, a building named after a new neighbourhood on Manhattan’s West Side. The 1,298-foot (396m) building is the sixth tallest in New York, and The Edge is the highest outdoor observation deck in the US. Stand on its glass floor panel for a vertical view of the streets below, or lean against its glass edge to take in the entire south and east of Manhattan, and across the Hudson River to New Jersey.

A triangular deck, The Edge juts out from the side of the building, so standing on it is exhilarating in itself. However, late last year, 30 Hudson Yards announced a new attraction for the really determined thrill-seeker: it’s called City Climb at Edge and offers the world’s highest open-air building ascent. This means you can climb an outdoor staircase to the top of the building, while secured to a safety harness, of course!

Reaching the Summit

New York’s fourth-tallest building, at 1,401 feet (427m), is One Vanderbilt. While the building was inaugurated in September 2020 in Midtown Manhattan, its observation deck The Summit was opened to the public in October 2021. Visitors take glass-floored elevators from the terrace to a six-thousand square-metre area on four levels. Here they can enjoy views from glass balconies that jut out of the building’s façade. Other attractions include a glass parapet, a bar, a café, an interactive art exhibition and an infinity room that offers a mind-blowing mirrored experience.

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other observation decks

Today, the Empire State Building is New York’s seventh-tallest building. Opened in 2014, One World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan is 1,792ft (546.2m) tall, the highest in the US. Its observation deck One World Observatory offers views from 1,268ft (386.5m) up. Located on one of the city’s landmark buildings, Top of the Rock is on the 850ft tall (260 m) 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Midtown Manhattan. The city’s 28th-tallest building has three levels of indoor and outdoor observation decks. So, next time you visit New York, be sure to visit at least one of the city’s five observation decks to experience the city in an entirely new way!