One World Observatory Open House – May 28, 2015

Elsy and I had been invited to a free Open House of One World Observatory by Legends Corp. I pounced on this opportunity and scheduled my slot for 11 AM. The Open House was a final preview of what the Observatory would be on Opening Day which would be on May 29. Today was foggy and visibility was around three miles. Even with the fog, the views and the experience were awesome.

The entrance to the observatory is on West St. There you can buy tickets as a walk-in, though you probably would not want to do that for a while. Better to get your tickets online with a timed entry at One World Observatory. You go down an escalator to your right and pass through airport style security screening. Do not bring liquids with you.

In this room past security, you see a global map which tells you the total number of visitors and what countries they came from. Then, you turn toward the east and pass through a corridor with video walls detailing the building’s construction….

Then you pass into a room which details the building’s foundations. This room turns south then back west toward the Observatory elevators…..

The corridor in front of the elevators is divided in two: general admission and Priority tickets / VIP Passes. This being an Open House, we were all VIPs and the division was not up today.

Elevator Ascent

102nd Floor See Forever Video

After this awesome video, the screens rise and you are looking out the North Face of the building…

The 102nd Floor level swings round to the East Face where you can start shooting photos. The windows up here, however do not have anti-glare coating….

You enter the 101st Floor level via escalator from 102 and you are brought along the Southeast Face. Around the corner is the See Forever Imaging Center.

Here, you can have your pics taken and you are given a special album with digital copy for $32.65. Elsy and I took this option (the price was for both of us together).


iPhones are great for Panos and this venue is a great place for them.

Nikon D50 Photos

iPhone 6 Plus Photos and Panos


The Observatory has four dining facilities providing what they call “curated dining.” Just about everyone is at a loss to figure out precisely what “curated dining” means. The restaurants were not yet open, as the Observatory had not opened to the public when these photos were taken. Behind the observation-themed wall and wine rack is a stand-up snack bar. This is along the North Face. Continuing back is a bar and sit down casual dining. Swinging along the east face is another bar and a formal sit down dining for which reservations are required. There’s also another area for private parties.

One World Observatory has its own branded red and white wine.

Sky Portal

From One World Observatory Open House – May 28 – iPhone 6 Plus

The Sky Portal is glass floor that gives the impression one is looking straight down at the street. It’s actually an illusion created by cameras sending a video feed to screens underneath the floor. Cantilevering boxes like at the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) in Chicago would not work here both from an engineering perspective and an aesthetic perspective. The Sky Portal does a reasonable job of conveying that straight down feeling and was a hit with us at the Open House.

City Pulse

These City Pulse rings – One each in the southeast and northeast corners of the 100th Floor provide up-to-date tourist information complete with Twitter and Instagram feeds. The curators are very knowledgeable and friendly. The gift shop is located on the East side between the two City Pulse rings.

Farewell Till Tomorrow…

Elsy and I make ready to bid farewell. We’ll be back here tomorrow for Opening Day.

Elevator Descent

Century 21 Gift Cards

All of us at the Open House received Century 21 Gift Cards with mystery values ranging from $5 to $1,000.

Around the WTC Site

Back down on the street, we toured the rest of the WTC site, because it had been a while since we were here….

The transit hub will be finished this year. That bird (or dinosaur?) shaped building cost as much as One WTC to build!

A common practice at the 9/11 Memorial is to put white roses in the first letter of the name of the deceased….

What I could not understand is the large volume of people taking selfies at a memorial. To me, it’s crass.

This panel hit like a baseball bat to the stomach. It speaks for itself.

As the water cascaded into the memorial pools, you could hear the construction noise from the Transit Hub and Tower Three very clearly…the sounds of death and life.

How One WTC Came To Be?

The original One WTC fell on September 11, 2001. The new One WTC is complete almost 14 years later. Quite frankly, it is a much better, far more advanced building than its predecessor. Donald Trump backed the Twin Towers II as designed by Ken Gardner and Herbert Belton. Back in 2005, what was then called “Freedom Tower” – a “Patak-ism” – looked nothing like today’s One WTC. Trump backed Gardner’s plan, because the “Freedom Tower” as it was then known was on Version 2 and still an ill-conceived design. I was with Gardner at Trump’s May 17, 2005 press conference and had occasion to meet Trump very briefly.

I worked with Gardner doing the website and promotion for his plan. I had been VP of Team Twin Towers (now defunct) prior. TTT was a 501 (c) 4 organization that advocated for rebuilding during the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) public hearings process.

Trump’s backing of Gardner’s plan likely forced “Freedom Tower” back to the drawing board. The NYPD demanded a re-design which went on for over a year. Today’s One WTC began construction in 2006 and the “Freedom Tower” moniker was dropped – rightfully so, since the original Freedom Tower is located in Miami, Florida. While I don’t claim credit for any aspect of the re-design, I am proud to have been even a very minor peripheral part of this history.

Yes, I had spent seven years fighting to have the old ones rebuilt, but fell in love with this one when I saw the construction unfold, as in this August 15, 2010 photo….

From One WTC (formerly “Freedom Tower”) 8-15-2010

One World Observatory opens tomorrow. But nothing will ever bring back the people who died here that day or in the bombing attack before it.

We must look to the past to learn from it, but we cannot live there.

We must look forward and ever upward.

Editor and Publisher, US for Palin, and Mine Eyes Have Seen; LAN Infrastructure PM; IFR PPL; fishing, shooting.

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  • johnps30

    “The original One WTC fell on September 11, 2011”. Typo s/b 2001. Great article highlighting many of the behind-the-scenes acts of citizenship.

    • Thank you for catching that. It’s been corrected.