As of today, there’s a new, totally thrilling (or terrifying, depending on how you feel about heights) experience in New York City: Edge, the observation deck at 30 Hudson Yards, has officially opened to the public.
Edge is billed as the highest outdoor observation deck in the Western Hemisphere, and that superlative is the main reason to visit. The platform juts 80 feet off the side of 30 Hudson Yards, the supertall skyscraper designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox; it’s an impressive feat of engineering, with the deck itself comprising 15 distinct pieces that were assembled and then bolted to the building. Glass panels surround the sky deck, so there’s a solid barrier between you and the open air, but it still feels quite hair-raising (especially because it can get very windy up on that platform).
The whole Edge experience—which was a collaboration between KPF, the Rockwell Group, and Rockwell Labs—is a well-oiled Hudson Yards propaganda machine: You enter through the fourth floor of the megaproject’s high-end mall, and each component of the experience—from security check-in to the elevator ride up to the platform—is designed to tell the story of Hudson Yards, from the point of view of its developer. It’s the neighborhood of the future and a model of urban sustainability, according to displays that visitors will see on their way to the elevators to the 100th floor.
Those visuals provide information on things like Related’s efforts to deck over the rail yards that still rumble below Hudson Yards, and some of the measures that led to its LEED Gold certification (including collecting and reusing rainwater, and a ventilation system that helps cool the platform underground). It’s a lot to take in, and you might wonder when you can just get to the observation deck already.
But once you’re actually up there, some 1,100 feet above the city, it’s impossible not to feel awed. The observation deck offers spectacular—and heretofore unseen—panoramic views of Manhattan, the outer boroughs, New Jersey, and beyond; according to Related, it also has some truly vertigo-inducing elements, like a glass floor that lets you look down directly onto Midtown buildings. (Visitors are encouraged to lie down on that floor to take selfies; only you can determine if you have the stomach for it.)
The attraction is opening in the midst of the outbreak of COVID-19, which has already taken a toll on tourism in New York City; representatives from Related acknowledged the challenges of opening during this time, and emphasized that they’re taking precautions to ensure the safety of visitors. (Hand sanitizing stations were present throughout the attraction, and the number of visitors per elevator was limited to fewer than 10 when we checked it out.) Tickets are available now.