One World Observatory – Opening Day / Ribbon Cutting – May 29, 2015

Now is the Time to See Forever…

I left ahead of Elsy to make the Ribbon cutting ceremony that I had been invited to. I always like to get this shot when I use the ferry. When the boat passes this point, you see the complete building top to bottom.

This double-truck ad in the NY Metro will likely be an important piece of history….

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

With the ribbon cut, One World Observatory is now open to the public and – One WTC is now officially a complete building.

I bought Priority tickets for 1:15 PM, so I connected the phone to an extended battery to upload the ribbon cutting video. Then, I walked over to the Battery Park City Esplanade to take in some views at ground level.

Battery Park City Esplanade – Vesey Street

 

I had the good fortune to see this FDNY fire boat steaming up the Hudson River. You don’t see them too often.

 

Manhattan is not just a concrete jungle. There is plenty of natural beauty here. You just have to open your eyes and look….

The Irish Hunger Memorial is a beautiful venue to overlook the Hudson River into Jersey City and the only spot to get complete One WTC shots from the West. Something is reflecting, causing a partial halo to appear that my lens picked up. It looks like a smile.

Looking Down Greenwich St.

 

 

Elsy had gotten off the 1 Train at Chambers St. as planned, so I met her on Greenwich St. and got these shots of the Transit Hub and the rising Tower 3.

VIP Pass

Being Opening Day, the general admission lines were backed up. My tickets were Priority ($54 each), which is a timed entry VIP pass. While people complained on social media about “disorganization” on opening day, seriously if you bought a general admission ticket on an historic day, the time slots were going to slip and the lines were going to be long. I think it’s great that the venue had this happy problem after 14 years of “no one will work there / no one will go there” BS from naysayers. Well, guess what? One WTC is leased; people are very happily and proudly working there; and people are lining up around the building and halfway down Vesey Street to go there.

Observatory staff were friendly, professional, and went out of their way to please and address issues. They were a big part of what was a fantastic experience.

I do think the VIP and Flex tickets should have their own line to the entrance, because you have to approach an Observatory rep with these tickets to activate the VIP privileges. As it is now, that means breaking in and out of the line. No one likes a line-cutter and no one likes being accused of cutting a line, so stupid conflicts inevitably erupt over this.

The Priority / VIP ticket means when your time slot comes, an Observatory rep escorts you downstairs to a dedicated security screening machine. Elsy and I were the only ones for our time slot who bought these passes, so we blew past the entire line.

At this point, you can join the general admission line and see the video wall and the exhibit about the building’s foundations, or you are escorted down the corridor to your right which has a very brief section of video screens and you are escorted straight to the elevator. Elsy and I took this option, since we had seen the video wall and foundation exhibit at yesterday’s open house. If it’s your first visit, you should re-join the crowd downstairs. For us, it was our time to max out the VIP. Once you are on the elevator, the VIP portion of the ticket has served its purpose and you join the general admission crowd upstairs for the remainder of your visit.

For my part, I’m spoiled rotten now. Priority / VIP tickets are my minimum.

DSLRs

Some people are spreading rumors that you can’t bring DSLRs to One World Observatory. Yes you can, and as you can see, I spent two days there walking around with a Nikon D-50. It’s most decidedly a DSLR, abeit one that’s a bit long in the tooth. Two of my over 30-year-old lenses open up to f/2.8 and 1.8 respectively and back in the day may have been considered pro grade. Yes, you can bring a DSLR. Yes, you can bring a handheld consumer grade camcorder.

Elevator Ascent

The video is worth repeating. You see 515 years of New York City history in 47 seconds.

102nd Floor See Forever Video

This video is stirring and uplifting. For Elsy and I, it was an emotional experience watching it both at the Open House yesterday and again today. The music – all instrumental – is very powerful. For me, the underpinning theme of the music was rebirth. This was a top flight production.

Now, let’s get to the views….

Panos

 

 

 

 

 

Through Brooklyn to Coney Island

Verrazano Bridge

Verrazano Bridge and Sandy Hook, NJ

My House

 

Locate the second salt mound on Staten Island along the Kill Van Kull. My house is just to the left of it. OK, you can’t see my house itself, but I found the general area in under five seconds.

Newark-Liberty International Airport

 

Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Central Jersey Rail Terminal

 

 

 

 

George Washington Bridge

 

Midtown and Uptown

 

That skinny building the right side of the picture is 432 Park Ave. It is 1,396 feet tall vs. 1,368 for One WTC’s roof. Condos in there range from $7 million to $80 million. Super-talls are going up like gang busters all over Midtown, especially in the 50s. Hell’s Kitchen has also taken off. Look for a fantastic development – Hudson Yards to come online in the next few years complete with its own super-tall higher than the Empire State Building.

 

 

 

UN, 59th St. Bridge, Triboro (Now called RFK) Bridge, Hellgate Bridge

Whitestone Bridge

La Guardia Airport and Throgs Neck Bridge

JFK International Airport and the Rockaways

Southwestern Portion of Nassau County

Aircraft

 

 

There are three US Army helicopters in the last picture.

Crane Barge, Jet Ski, Staten Island Ferry

 

 

Dining

Elsy and I drank seltzer waters at the bar, ate appetizers and main courses in the casual dining section called “One Mix” and ate dessert in the stand-up “One Café.” The fine dining restaurant is called “One Dine” or simply “One.” Table service at One Mix will generally have a waiting list, so best to get yourself on the list, take in some views and come back. You can always eat at the bar if seats are available if you are willing to sit up high and forego the table.

Some people have made a big stink about the fact that you must pay the Observatory admission fee to use the restaurants, whereas with Windows on the World, you could just go straight up. Windows was located in the old One WTC or North Tower while the former observatory was located in Two WTC or the South Tower. Windows got a lot of local traffic and the bar was something of a hookup scene.

At the new One WTC, the restaurants are considerably smaller and tightly integrated into the Observatory. They are intended to be part of the Observatory experience. Windows was a totally different restaurant with a completely different vibe.

The only thing I see as potentially problematic with today’s layout – dining is on the 101st floor and the bathrooms are on 100. If you have to go, you leave the restaurant, bolt down the escalator to 100, hang a hard left at the City Pulse, dash into the gift shop and the bathrooms are behind the merchandise wall roughly in the middle of the shop.

Food prices are quite reasonable and commensurate with the quality of the food and the venue. Our appetizers, drinks and main courses came to $65 including 18% tip (which is included with the bill). For two people to sit down and eat a wholesome, satisfying, and delicious meal at the top of One WTC, $65 is not an excessive price to pay. It’s very easy to pay much more than this at run-of-the-mill restaurants anywhere. Our dessert – a chocolate croissant and a scone added $8 to the bill and we picked those up at the Café. I ate half the scone two days later and it was still fresh.

We eat out all the time. One of our favorite Chinese restaurants in Midtown can add up to $70 and we’ve spent $80 and even $90 at our favorite German restaurant here on Staten Island.

When you come to One World Observatory you are coming here to live large, feel uplifted, positive, and inspired.

Bottom Line: One World Observatory’s food is first class, and really is a good value for the money.

Staten Island Meatballs

 

Elsy loved her cheese board. I took a few pieces and loved it too.

 

 

We’re headed to 101st floor of World Trade Center to deliver white and red blends grown produced and bottled at Shinn Estate. #oneworldobservatory #seeforever #tasteforeverPosted by Shinn Estate Vineyards on Tuesday, May 26, 2015

 

After months of planning we’re excited to announce our collaboration with One World Observatory General Manager Richard…Posted by Shinn Estate Vineyards on Wednesday, May 20, 2015

We didn’t drink alcoholic beverages today, but as noted at the Open House, One World Observatory has its own branded red and white wines. If the quality of the food is any indicator, the wines should be excellent. One wines are produced by Shinn Estate Vineyard in Mattituck, NY.

The Observatory also serves Bedrock Wine.

This is the cold case of the Café, featuring a full selection of Chobani yogurts, salads, sandwiches, and fruit. The hot section (to the left out of frame) has New York standards such as pizza, hot dogs and large pretzels. Baked goods were to my rear.

Sky Portal

Elsy stands on the Sky Portal looking down.

City Pulse

Souvenirs

These souvenirs are what I would consider the best value in the house. The inaugural pins at $10 each – mine are numbered 101 and 102 are limited edition and quite likely have historical value. I love to collect a model of the building or structure I’ve visited – from the venue – and this $40 model stands 12.25.” There were only three left. “Shut up and take my money!” I was thinking. The pen, magnet, and shot glass were $5 each.

We’re suckers for souvenirs – Elsy with the magnets and me with the building models.

As we left, one of the reps told us how lucky and happy she is to be working here.

Nikon D50
iPhone 6 Plus

Elevator Descent

More awe that bears repeating.

Till the Next Time….

There will be a next time….to #SEEFOREVER and to live large once again.

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

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