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15 Views Of 1 WTC's 100th-Floor Observation Deck

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Come 2015, the top of One World Trade Center?the 100th, 101st, and 102nd floors, to be precise?will be home to an observation deck called One World Observatory. Curbed got a sneak preview of that site today, which is still very much under construction; hard hats and stylish netted vests are required for a visit. But the views... those'll be the same. (We're sure the windows will be cleaner by then!) We took the elevator from the lobby up to the 49th floor, switched over to another bank to get to the 90th, and then swapped a third time to get to 100. When it's done, though, visitors will have a mere 60-second ride to the top.

The enclosed observation deck will afford 360-degree views in all directions; today, only the northern part was open for viewing. The photo gallery above spans from New Jersey and the George Washington Bridge to the Empire State Building and the other goliaths of Midtown, and then eastward to Queens, Brooklyn, and Long Island. From this height, the Woolworth Building in the Financial District below, which was the city's tallest tower from 1913 to 1930, looks like a building block. The clouds actually move by at eye level. 1 WTC will be, after all, the tallest building in the hemisphere?a stat oft repeated by officials throughout the morning. Oh, and that it's "the most significant destination in the world" with "the greatest views on the planet." We'd laugh if they weren't pretty stunning in reality, too. (UPDATE: Photographer Gary He took some pretty awesome shots, so check his out if you can't get enough of these aerial views.)

Legends Hospitality, which beat out two other companies (including Danny Meyer's) to run the observation deck and is leasing it from the Port Authority, presented the renderings above and the video below to show what the journey to and from the observation deck will feel like for a visitor. Waiting in line will be oh-so-much more than just that, with testimonials from workers who physically built 1 WTC on big screens and other exhibits about the building itself, right down to the stones of the foundation. The LED screen-covered elevator is meant to give visitors a sense of how the city grew in height over time, while a show when you get to the 102nd floor dramatically ends with the theater opening up to reveal the view. Down one floor are concessions as well as "tour ambassadors" who can point out the sights, and down another is a gift shop.

Ticket prices haven't yet been determined but will be comparable to similar sights in New York City, with discounts for schools and community groups, officials said. (For comparison, the Empire State Building deck costs $25 and up, depending on the type of ticket.) Port Authority execs said they expect the deck to bring in $875 million in revenue over the 15-year agreement with Legends. The 104-story building topped out in August, but the spire has yet to be completed, which will bring the building to its symbolic 1,776 feet.
· One World Trade Center coverage [Curbed]

One World Trade Center Freedom Tower

72 Vesey Street, New York, NY 10006