FINANCIAL DISTRICT — Soaring views of New York City from a perch 1,250 feet in the air will soon be open to the public.
One World Observatory, the three-story observation deck offering sweeping vistas of the city and beyond from atop One World Trade Center, is slated to open May 29.
For a $32 ticket price, visitors will get a "see forever" experience.
Guests are welcomed in on the first floor of 1 WTC, now the tallest building in the country, and ushered through a multimedia experience, called "Voices" — a hallway of screens where visitors can see the men and women who helped construct the building tell their stories.
Then it's onto the "sky pod" elevators, which zip visitors up the 102 floors of the building in about 48 seconds. The elevators, which take 15 people at a time, are outfitted with floor-to-ceiling LED panels, offering a virtual show on trips up and down.
Guests are "transported through an illusion" to the top, said David Checketts, chairman and CEO of Legends which operates the observatory, during a sneak peak of the space on Thursday.
On the ascent, visitors watch the New York skyline develop, from the 1500s to the present, in a time-lapse. When you head back down, you soar through Manhattan, as though your "sky pod" has detached from the building, so you can see 1 WTC from the outside.
Once you get to the observation deck, you can explore what most visitors came for — the incredible views in every direction. Floor-to-ceiling windows showcasing expansive vistas of the city and beyond encircle the observation deck. Guides will be on hand to point out landmarks and answer guests' questions about the city.
The 120,000-square-foot venue also includes a cafe, a bar, a sit-down restaurant and a space for catered events. If you just want to grab a drink or bite with a view, you still have to pay the full admission price.
And, of course, before you can head back down, visitors pass through a merchandise section. Items like t-shirts, which cost about $35 each, as well as photos, mugs, shot glasses, bags and other items will be for sale. One of the most expensive items is a crystal replica of 1 WTC, which costs $200.
Each ticket will be sold for a scheduled day and time. Admission costs $32 for adults, $26 for children aged 6 to 12 and $30 for senior citizens ages 65 and up. Children 5 and under are free.
Family members of 9/11 victims will be able to get in free, as will 9/11 rescue and recovery workers. Members of the U.S. military will receive discounted admission.
The Observatory will offer several preview days before officially opening on the 29th. On May 26, the deck will be open for local school students, on May 27, workers who helped build the building will be invited and on May 28 there will be a first-come, first-served open house for the general public.
The Observatory will be open year-round. Through Sept. 7, the hours will be from 9 a.m. to midnight. The rest of the year it will be on a 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. schedule, with extended holiday hours.
To purchase tickets in advance, click here.