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Monday, June 1, 2015

One World Observatory

A few months ago I heard that the observation decks in the Freedom Tower would be opening at the end of May.  I thought about getting tickets, because I knew that it would be near the end of our time here and that they would sell out fast.  But I waited. Of course.  So a few weeks ago, when I saw a link on Facebook to enter to get tickets to go up the day before it actually opened, I obviously had to enter.  I got an email after a couple days, saying that I had been drawn to get tickets and I had to go onto their site to (quickly) pick a time that worked for me.  By the time I got onto the site, the 9:00 slot was filled but I managed to get the 9:15 spot for Josh and I on the 28th.  

We had seen a few different teasers on TV, from Anderson Cooper, the Yankees and The Today Show, so I knew a bit of what to expect but was still excited!

Finally the day came,  and sadly even before we left Jersey City we could see the Freedom tower and knew that it looked pretty cloudy and foggy way up there.  But, it was free and maybe the clouds would burn off in a couple hours.  

We arrived and were only in line for a few minutes, as they had us lined up according to the time on our tickets.  

 We headed inside and down an escalator to the basement of the building to the ticket booth and security (I didn't know what security would be like, but it was pretty standard airport style).

There was a really cool introduction to the building and the history of it and NYC.  As you can see below, we were the 14,919 people to go inside.  Seems like a lot, but considering in a few months it will be in the millions, it wasn't.   

There was a long hall and some videos of the construction of the freedom tower, and some construction workers and planners, telling their stories of the building and of course people telling some stories of being in and around The World Trade Center during 9/11 (always heart breaking).  After that was a lesson in the geology of the ground that the building is built on and that of the island of Manhattan with little clips that would pop up on slabs of rocks that we walked through.  Very cool.

 I was excited for the elevator ride, as I had heard they were the fastest in the world (102 floors in not quite 40 seconds) and that there was an awesome Multimedia show.  It really was amazing!  The video was of NYC from the swampy island it was to the bustling city that it is now.  Check out the video below.

Once we got to the top, in that short 40 seconds, there was more huge screens waiting for us with scenes from NYC.  Again, absolutely breathtaking.

At the end of the video, the screens rise up to expose the view of the city... had it cleared off?  No, you couldn't even tell that there was a city out there.  Sad, but again, the experience was worth it regardless of the view.  

We started walking around, exploring the three observation floors.  It was all very modern and state of the art.

The restaurants were not open, since technically the whole place wasn't started up yet.  but they did have their own wine on display... I need to get some of this!  

There is this really cool multimedia center, facing what would have been north, or uptown manned by a few different tour guides. The screens were motion centered, so the guide could point at a screen with a different category on it , all of course about NYC.  There was Sports, Entertainment, Getting Around, History etc.  Once they had selected one of those categories, more info on that subject would pop up on that particular category.

Me with the epic view. haha.  You can see below that it did start to clear off a bit, at least enough to see the ground and appreciate how high up we really were.  Had we stayed up a couple hours we may have had a bit of a view but it really wasn't super clear until the evening.

The glass floor with the video of the city below.  

After hanging out for a bit, we decided to go back down and head home.  The elevator ride down was just as amazing!

Another fun feature was that the tunnels from the Freedom tower down into the PATH were open so we didn't even have to leave the building to get home!  The tunnels are unbelievable!  

This was such an amazing experience to be one of the first people ever to get to see this amazing new sight.  If you get the chance I would say, check out the view from the Freedom Tower over the Empire State building and 30 Rock.  The whole experience is so fantastic.  Here are some photos of what the view would actually look like:

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