Getting a bird’s-eye view of New York City will be easier than ever at the Edge, a new jaw-dropping outdoor observation deck that’s billed as the highest in the Western Hemisphere. It opened Wednesday in a new Midtown skyscraper on the city’s west side.
The deck, accessed from the 100th floor, is more than just a window on the world. Its more breathtaking features include angled glass walls that allow fearless visitors to lean out over the city, a glass floor that stretches 1,131 feet above the ground, and a Champagne bar and restaurant-lounge where you can sip Manhattans and Long Island iced teas in the clouds.
The attraction is part of Hudson Yards, a sleek new neighborhood I explored recently during a visit to the Big Apple. The $25-billion development, called the most expensive real estate project in U.S. history, opened last year near the Javits Center.
The 28-acre development, built from the ground up over more than a dozen acres of working rail tracks, includes a climbable landmark called the Vessel, a performing arts and entertainment center named the Shed, a luxury hotel, Equinox and a seven-story shopping center.
Edge tops the 30 Hudson Yards office tower and is now the second highest office building in New York City after One World Trade Center. The deck extends out 65 feet on the east and south sides of the building. It’s suspended in midair, giving visitors the feeling of floating in the sky.
Zip to the top in 60 seconds by way of a special elevator for views of the city, western New Jersey and New York state. Tickets cost $36 for adults, $34 for seniors and $31 for kids 6 to 12.
If this seems a bit pricey, visit Vessel instead, which is only 150 feet tall but packs an entertaining wallop. Better yet, Vessel is free, but you must book tickets; reserve timed tickets in advance on the website.
The structure is an amazing basket-shaped stairway to the sky that’s been variously described as a pine cone, spaceship or honeycomb. The $200-million latticed building has no purpose except as a landmark and monument for visitors to climb and explore.
Sheathed in copper-clad steel, the open-air skeleton is comprised of 154 interconnecting flights of stairs. You’ll climb nearly 2,500 steps to reach the top, which offers views of the city and river. There’s also an elevator for nonclimbers (but it runs infrequently and is time-consuming).
My friends and I decided to climb a bit and take a look rather than wait for the elevator and ended up climbing 15 floors to the top. It’s a challenge that’s hard to resist, especially since the perspective and views change constantly on the way up. While the scenery is interesting outside the building, it’s even more fascinating — and Instagrammable — from the inside.
Vessel, like the Hudson Yards development, has engendered criticism. Some reviewers called it a monument to excess, and others compared it to a trash can or a drinking glass.
But hey, I’m a tourist, not a snarky New York City resident, and I thought it was fun. Something new to do when you’re in town and tired of visiting Times Square, Central Park and the Empire State Building. It’s an especially good attraction to check out if you’re attending a convention at the Javits Center.
In addition to Vessel and Edge, you can spend some time at the shopping center. For the most part, the huge indoor mall includes a lot of the stores you’ll find at every high-end mall in the world: Chanel, Dior, Cartier.
A better choice if you wander inside the mall: Check out Mercado Little Spain, a labyrinth of restaurants, bars, kiosks, counters and shops. This all-day market specializes in Spanish food, drinks and culture, a concept developed by José Andrés, chef and restaurateur. There are lots of wonderful dishes and drinks to try.
The Mercado is on the lower floor of the mall and is tucked into Hudson Yards at the point where the High Line runs into it, making it easy to combine a visit to both.
The High Line, an elevated public park built on a one-time freight rail line, is another of my favorite New York haunts. It’s an urban walking trail above city streets, a lovely public park planted with a variety of flowers, bushes and trees that offers a fresh perspective and views of the city’s architecture.
The park runs from Gansevoort Street at the south end (just south of West 13th Street) to West 34th Street at the north end. You can access it at various points along the route, some of which offer stair access only, and others with elevator access.
As you stroll the High Line, you can see Edge looming over it, a sky-high behemoth with a triangular platform extending from it over the city. Think about standing on that ledge. Then go for it. It’s not for the faint of heart, but the Instagram photos will be worth it.
Info: Edge, 30 Hudson Yards, New York City