The highest outdoor observation deck in the Western Hemisphere was only open for 2 days before closing as the pandemic spread. We got a tour last week — here’s what it’s like to see NYC from 1,100 feet above ground

  • Edge is the highest outdoor observation deck in NYC and the Western Hemisphere located in the multibillion-dollar Hudson Yards neighborhood in Manhattan.
  • The attraction first opened on March 11 and was closed two days later in light of the pandemic. 
  • It reopened on September 4 with restrictions in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
  • We visited Edge and found it was spacious with many precautions like mandatory face masks, temperature checks, social distancing guides, and sanitizing stations. 
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

The Edge is in Hudson Yards, New York City's most expensive neighborhood full of restaurants, shops, elaborate architecture, and open spaces to take it all in.

Source: Business Insider

The subway station at Hudson Yards was nearly empty when I arrived at around 2:30 p.m. on a Friday.

It took about 10 minutes to walk from the subway station to the building where Edge is located. All around the property, there were signs about preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

At 3 p.m., I entered the building with a handful of others to view the city from above.The tickets cost $36. Edge prefers for visitors to make reservations online beforehand to reduce contact with surfaces, but you can reserve a slot on your phone with a QR code that replaces self-service kiosks on-site for $2 more.

Source: Edge

From the door, I was directed to an elevator that took me to the fourth floor of the building.

I didn't have to press any buttons — the ride was automatic. Edge implemented touchless features to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, a spokesperson for the attraction told Business Insider.

Once I got to the fourth floor, I noticed even more signs reminding patrons to keep their distance from one another.

A sign directed patrons to the right to keep people from bumping into one another.

After the first elevator ride, I was directed to another space where a line should be, but it was empty.

This line led to the contactless thermal scanner that checked my temperature without me even noticing. "It would have buzzed if you had a fever," an employee later told me.

Again, I was directed to a line for more security measures. It was so empty I felt like I was speeding through TSA Pre-Check.

Before getting to the observation deck, I walked through an indoor exhibit with information about the neighborhood.

If there had been anyone else walking through the exhibit next to me, these spots on the floor would have helped us keep our distance.

After the indoor exhibit, I got in an elevator with three other people to the observation deck. We each had our own spot to stand on for the ride to the top.

A 52-second elevator ride later, I was on the 100th floor where there were more signs and sanitation stations.

There were two places to view the city — outside on the observation deck and up these stairs.

I began with the outdoor deck since it was sunny out. Some patrons asked employees to take their picture, but employees were not allowed to touch the guest's phones.

The outdoor deck features angled glass walls that make you feel like you are leaning over the city.

Source: Edge

There is also a staircase for even higher views over the glass walls. Visitors typically stay on the deck for about an hour, but there is no time limit, per the attraction's website.

Source: Edge

Perhaps the most unique part of this experience is the glass floor where you can see directly underneath you.

Employees cleaned the glass floor while I was on it, which made me feel better about kids sitting down and putting their hands on the glass.

If you're afraid of heights, you might not like the glass floor. But I'm a bit of a thrill-seeker, and this put butterflies in my stomach.

Patrons could also purchase snacks and beverages from masked employees on the deck outside.

They serve Champagne, cocktails, and other drinks.

Source: Edge

With 7,500 square feet and a staircase, there were many ways to view the city — more so than the Empire State Building's observation deck.

Social distancing was easy here because there weren't many people on it. The attraction is operating at a reduced capacity with staggered entry and timed tickets,a spokesperson for Edge told Business Insider.

Every time I scanned the deck, I could see at least one employee cleaning something.

The most confusing thing about the space was how to get back inside. It seemed like every door said to use a different one.

Inside and out, there were social distancing stickers spread out on the floor.

After viewing the outdoor space, I headed up the stairs to the indoor observation room where not much was happening.

People were just sitting and enjoying the views with no problem social distancing.

I stuck around the indoor space for a few minutes but found it less stimulating than the outdoor deck.

After viewing the indoor deck, I got in line — behind no one — to take the elevator back down.

This time around, I had the whole elevator to myself.

It took me back to the fourth floor where another sanitation station was perched in front of the gift shop.

Inside the store, there were more signs reminding people how to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

After meandering through the giftshop, I took an elevator back down to ground level.

But first, I sanitized my hands.

After my tour, I exited the building and took a walk around the neighborhood.

At around 4 p.m. Hudson Yards was full of visitors …

… and they all seemed to be social distancing.


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