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Clouds Greet One World Observatory's First Public Visitors

Though the much-anticipated observation deck at the top of One World Trade Center formally opens tomorrow, today marked the first day official tickets were issued. It was billed as an open house, and tickets (usually $32) were comped and issued for specific times in 15-minute intervals, just the way they will be from tomorrow onwards. Mariah Carey will be singing at a gala tonight to honor tomorrow's launch, but no such pomp and circumstance were evident earlier today. A muggy, cloudy morning didn't deter excited visitors, who endured airport-style security to experience the 360-degree views as well as the other, more showy films and interactive displays. After ascending through an elevator with a time-lapse showing New York City's history and how Lower Manhattan came to look the way it does today, you're shuttled into a room to watch a movie that is vaguely about New York, with shots from the High Line to the subway accompanied by a soundtrack that escalates in drama. At the end of the movie, the screen lift into the air to reveal the view north, towards Midtown. At 10:40 a.m. this morning, that view was pure white—complete cloud cover. Everyone laughed.

Kids bounded around, running in circles, undeterred by the limited visibility. One visitor joked that she was pretending it was San Francisco. Adults squinted through the fog, trying to find nearby landmarks and make out the Statue of Liberty's faint outline through the mist.

The mom of an active toddler with a giant bow who refused to leave a spot on the 102nd floor overlooking the Woolworth Building ("I want to see outside") said that the dramatic moment when the screens lifted turned humorous given the weather, and that she could only laugh.

Cleared up a bit. Can just see ESB.

A photo posted by Alec Perkins (@alecperkins) on

Despite the weather, everyone had a good attitude. (Perhaps in part because they didn't have to pay $32?) "That is so cool," said a girl who, with friends, was identifying Brooklyn Bridge Park's piers and where Smorgasburg is held.

About to get my #WTC on. #kissthesky #free99 #fogfoggoawaycomeagainsomeotherday #OneWorldObservatory

A photo posted by Melanie (@curlygirl7) on

Spotted, multiple selfie sticks and pained faces trying to find an angle in which some buildings could be seen through dual obstacles: the somewhat glare-y windows and the fog. Also, commentary: "You hair looks perfect, but what's with my face?"

Two gentleman from Baltimore said they didn't care about the weather at all. "I don't care. I'm up here," one said. "We'll be back."

One World Observatory. #nyc

A photo posted by Paulina Kotuła (@pootula) on

Meanwhile, helicopters flew down the Hudson—many, many stories below.

Two other gentleman came all the way from Guyana; they were just pleased to be here at all."I ain't complaining," one said. "We are the first civilians besides construction workers to see this since 9/11. So just enjoy it." (He probably wasn't thinking of all the press previews, but the man has a point.)

Lunch time sneak peek to One World Observatory, officially opening tomorrow :) #freedomtower #lifeinfidi

A photo posted by Elli Gustafsson (@ell1g) on

A One World Observatory staffer stood in ring of interactive LED screens, giving short talks about the city, its sights, and the views. The best part of was his extemporaneous monologue riffing on the weather: "Across the harbor, appearing shortly, will be Staten Island." As the sun rose higher in the sky, some of the clouds did dissipate. Said one woman, "Every time we walk around it gets clearer. That's Jersey."

Now here's a lucky guy who snapped a shot on a clear day last week, and a few like him.

First visitors up to the One World Observatory .., what a view!!!

A photo posted by @kymberlylocigno on

· Previewing One World Observatory and Its Extraordinary Views [Curbed]
· Spend a Day on the Highest Floor of One World Trade Center [Curbed]
· One World Observatory Elevators Unveil 515-Year Time Lapse [Curbed]
· It's Official: One World Observatory Will Open May 29 [Curbed]
· Previewing the $32 Experience of One World Observatory [Curbed]
· One World Trade Center's Observation Deck Unveils Pricing [Curbed]
· All One World Observatory coverage [Curbed]

One World Trade Center Freedom Tower

72 Vesey Street, New York, NY 10006