Visiting the Mighty Tower that is One World Observatory

It’s magnificent.  If the original Twin Towers signaled a shining hour of building greatness, the new Freedom Tower at 102 floors is a new marvel of the modern age.

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While the 9/11 Museum is a slow-paced time to reflect, the tower is like a ride at a theme-park. With scheduled times to enter, the place is orderly, and we step into a hallway with clips of stories from those involved in the building “7 days a week, 15 hours a day.” How proud they were to be a part of it, and how relieved they were when the antenna at the very tip top slipped right into its slot. We walk through a tunnel of very, very old bedrock (like millions of years old), which is the stuff the foundation of Manhattan island is made of.  And then the elevators.

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We’re headed up to the 102nd floor, a 47 second flight, and throughout the short time, a video plays all around.  Clips of early NYC, when first settled.  Then, we step out and walk towards a railing and view another short video about the many neighborhoods of the city, at night, in the morning, in sun and rain. The walls open to Voila! a stunning sunset over New Jersey.  We can see three states, five boroughs, eight bridges, and – ready for this? – 70,000 buildings. But we’re not there yet.  An escalator ride down to floor 101 is where we get the jaw-dropping 360-degree view.  (For $15, an iPad can be rented which provides details about the famous sights in every language.)  There’s a spot where photos are taken by staff photographers, available for later purchase at the end of the visit. Oh, and there’s a gift shop and the One World Observatory restaurant here, too.

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There was one second when my mind wandered to what it may have been like to be on the 101st floor with no way out. It’s a jarring moment, but then you instantly become hypnotized by the ferries heading to Staten Island, the line of red lights on West Side Highway, the traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge, and even the BQE.  There’s no time to stay in the horror of the day.  The city, like it’s people, are back to work, with places to go. But we’ll always remember.

Photos by MJ Hanley-Goff

There are a variety of tours and price packages for tours. Please visit the following websites for more information.  Advanced ticket purchase is highly recommended. Plan to start your tours early in the day before the crowds.
911groundzero.com – combination of tours available, of museum, St. Paul’s Chapel and observatory.
911memorial.org – information  for the memorial pools
oneworldobservatory.com – observation deck

About MJ Hanley-Goff (138 Articles)
MJ Hanley-Goff has been contributing to Woman Around Town since its inception in 2009. She began her career at Newsday in the early 90’s and has continued writing professionally for other New York publications like the Times Herald-Record, Orange Magazine, and Hudson Valley magazine. Former editor of Hudson Valley Parent magazine, she also contributed stories to AAA’s Car & Travel, and Tri-County Woman. After completing her novel and a self-help book, she created MJWRITES, INC. to offer writing workshops and book coaching to first time authors, and college essay writing help to students. MJ is thrilled and honored to write for WAT for the amazing adventures it offers, like reviewing concerts, people, authors, events, and tourist attractions in New York, and around the world. “I enjoy drawing attention to the off-the-beaten path kinds of stories,” she says. “It’s great big world out there, with so many talented and creative artists, doers, and thinkers.”