In the summer of 1997, I went as high up as I’ve ever been in a building in Manhattan, 1500 feet, to see “Little” Louie Vega, the DJ and producer, play his weekly Wednesday night set at Windows on the World in World Trade Center One, the North Tower. The city glittered below us as the bumping bass thumped the glass windows. Four years later they fell.
It wasn’t PTSD or fear of heights or anything like that, I just hadn’t been up high over Manhattan again. I didn’t ever visit the new observation deck of the Empire State, at around 1200′ or the so-called Freedom Tower – I just never prioritized it when was in town. So when I read about Summit One Vanderbilt, that opened in December of 2021, I was excited to check it out. It had only been open a month when I arrived.
One Vanderbilt is a 93-story skyscraper at the corner of 42nd Street and Vanderbilt Avenue in Midtown. Designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox, the building was proposed by developer SL Green Realty as part of a planned Midtown East rezoning in the early 2010s. The skyscraper’s roof is 1,301 feet (397 m) high and its spire is 1,401 feet (427 m) above ground, making it the city’s fourth-tallest building after One World Trade Center, Central Park Tower, and 111 West 57th Street.
I bought a ticket for the Thursday afternoon timeslot, which would allow views not only of sunset, but of the city at night. While it had snowed earlier in the day, the snow had stopped, the sun was out and the temperature had risen to the lower 30’s. But way up at the top of Summit One V, there was snow!
Here’s a video of my experience up until sunset:
And some stills from the evening :