If you live in NYC, or plan to visit and have the opportunity to go to the new Freedom Tower, I highly recommend checking out the One World Observatory between the 100th and 102nd floors that recently opened to the public on May 29th. I went with my father-in-law and sister-in-law on Friday, and I'm so glad I did. It's a breathtaking and remarkable tribute to the victims of 9-11, and the experience was better than I anticipated. The total number of people that had already visited when we went was 315,874. (I like documenting little facts like that for my future self.)
Here are a few tips and suggestions if you go:
1. Buy your tickets ahead of time HERE. You will choose from a list of available times to go; I think the groups are about every 15 minutes. There is no need to show up early because you will wait for no reason. We actually got there a few minutes late for our 3:45PM time-slot and we were still allowed to skip past all the people there for 4PM and later. If you purchase the tickets from your phone, take a screenshot of your ticket barcode after you purchase them as the service there is spotty. (Thank you to my brother-in-law who went earlier in the week and figured this whole process out for us!)
2. Don't shy away because you think there will be too big of a crowd. We went on July 3rd...hellooo, holiday weekend with tourists and everyone off work!...and it was totally fine. Sure, there were people, but nothing like the fireworks situation on the FDR Drive the next day - ha!
3. Prepare yourself for the elevator ride... it. is. a. doozy. You go up 100 floors in under a minute so your ears pop and your stomach jumps a bit. The inside of the elevator walls are LED screens showing you a time-lapse of New York City from the 1500s to present day. My advice is to watch the screens and pretend you're not being sky rocketed up in the air ;)
4. Take your time on the tour and pay attention. There will be something that happens that will likely surprise you (it caught me off guard when it happened, and it was so cool!), but I'm not going to tell you when or what it is.
5. If we had more time to spare (we had to get up to the Bronx for a Yankees game!), I would have loved to sit in one of the dining areas on the 101st floor. Talk about a restaurant with a view! I'd also love to go back at some point in the evening as I'm sure it's a whole different feel up there with the city lights.
a few more pictures...
fun fact: I actually took the picture above a few days before, moments after legally changing my name.
We walked right up to this spot at the base of one of the towers and my heart sank when I saw one of the names because it was eerily similar to my husband's name. It all hit me in that moment, and I didn't know whether to feel sad or thankful or guilty or what.
If you have the chance, go! ...and let me know what you think.