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New One Vanderbilt Soars to Top Place as Best Way to See NYC

what you need to know about Summit One Vanderbilt in New York City, along with stunning photos

Instagram alert! If you’re heading to New York City and you want to experience the latest and greatest the city has to offer, there’s a dazzling new perch from which to see the city’s iconic skyline. The new Summit One Vanderbilt soars to top place in our view as the best way to see NYC right now. Our correspondent Julie Chang Murphy explored the new destination, and she’s sharing her first-hand account of what you need to know about Summit One Vanderbilt in New York City, along with stunning photos of the spectacular view.

All you need to know about the newly constructed Summit One Vanderbilt

One of our Top Rules for Travel is that if you’re in a new city, head for a skyscraper so you can take in a panoramic overview before you hit the streets.

We’ve done that and previously shared our photos from aeries in London at at the Sky Garden. In Seattle at Seattle Center. And in Manhattan from the roof of the Metropolitan Museum. And the Vessel at Hudson Yards.

These are marvelous experiences, and places that most denizens of these cities probably never visit. Unless someone is in town for the first time as their guest.

Well, sometimes you need to play tourist in your own town. Because you may end up seeing it in a new light. As we did on our visit to the new Summit One Vanderbilt.

Summit One Vanderbilt is not just for tourists. For denizens of the city who find themselves feeling trapped in myopic tunnels and boxes — both literally and figuratively — the newly constructed 1,401-foot tall One Vanderbilt (adjacent to Grand Central Terminal) offers a fresh perspective.

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Gazing at sweeping views of our streets and buildings from high above isn’t all that new though. We get that flying into JFK or LaGuardia. And of course, there are plenty of other observation decks that we’ve had to take obligatory visits with friends and relatives to over the years: The Empire State Building, One World Observatory, Top of the Rock, and The Edge at Hudson Yards. What makes Summit One Vanderbilt mesmerizing and entertaining are the multi-sensory art installations that complement the view.

Summit One Vanderbilt opened on October 21st and we visited the $3.3 billion building on a clear and crisp blue morning. The $39 ticket includes admission to the top floors of the building where visitors can walk through the immersive, multi-room installation, Air designed by the artist Kenzo Digital. According to the press release, “Through the use of glass mirrors on every structural surface, Air appears boundless, without fixed formAir defamiliarizes the world, and the process of finding a new equilibrium opens up a sense of elemental curiosity.” We certainly found ourselves disoriented…in a good way.

For an extra $20, visitors can take a “thrilling glass elevator journey” over 1,200 feet. As someone who was once trapped in an elevator, that was an easy pass. But if you have had only pleasant and efficient elevator trips, give it a go!

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A few things to know. If you go during the day, you might want to bring sunglasses because the mirrors and reflections can be intense. Dress in sensible shoes — no heels because they can damage the floors. On the day we went, shoe coverings were provided which made walking on glass and mirrors feel a little precarious. We’d recommend sneakers for more traction. Finally, to avoid unwanted exposure, here’s a friendly reminder to wear pants!

Ahead, take a look at some of the highlights from our visit to Summit One Vanderbilt. We can’t wait to go back at night.

All you need to know about the newly constructed Summit One Vanderbilt

After an ear-popping elevator ride up, the doors open to this moody corridor. It’s a stunning contrast to what awaits around the corner.

Summit One Vanderbilt

Photo Credit: Julie Chang Murphy.

No choice but to let yourself acclimate to the dizzying spectacle. As Kenzo Digital stated, “Air compels you to live in the present moment: calm, aware, free.”

Summit One Vanderbilt

Photo Credit: Julie Chang Murphy.

Portals are scattered throughout the floor. Look down if you dare!

Summit One Vanderbilt

Photo Credit: Julie Chang Murphy.

It’s easier to look out and take in the spectacular 360 views of the city.

Summit One Vanderbilt

Photo Credit: Julie Chang Murphy.

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On par with the views is the people watching. We loved seeing people in ballgowns and fashionistas posing to get their best Instagram shots.

Photo Credit: Julie Chang Murphy.

The next room, Reflect, features “Clouds,” a floor installation by the Japanese contemporary artist, Yayoi Kusama. It serves as a welcome reset before the next room.

Photo Credit: Julie Chang Murphy.

You can’t help but smile and feel like a kid walking into Affinity, a room filled with silver balloons floating throughout the space.

Photo Credit: Julie Chang Murphy.

We could have spent all our time in this room. It’s like a bubble bath for all the senses.

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Photo Credit: Julie Chang Murphy.

A view of Northern Manhattan and Central Park. Who knew sky and steel could look so serene?

Photo Credit: Julie Chang Murphy.

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The finale, Unity, features your face rolling through the clouds. A visitor next to me said, “This is kind of creepy.”

Photo Credit: Julie Chang Murphy.

The top floor features Danny Meyer’s Nordic inspired café and bar called APRÈS. There are small bites, coffee, and cocktails with the best view in Midtown.

Photo Credit: Julie Chang Murphy.

Ah, open air. Here, there are more food and beverages offerings amidst lovely little gardens and music.

Photo Credit: Julie Chang Murphy.

If you’re thinking of visiting, timed tickets are on sale now and start at $39 for adults ($33 for kids age 6 to 12; children under 5 are free), with $5 discounts for New York City residents. Visits during sunset hours are an additional $10. Per local regulations, proof of vaccination against COVID-19 is required for all guests over the age of 12.

All you need to know about the newly constructed Summit One Vanderbilt

You see why our vote is that the new Summit One Vanderbilt soars to top place as the best way to see NYC right now. Right? Have fun!

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For access to insider ideas and information on the world of luxury, sign up for our Dandelion Chandelier Newsletter hereAnd see luxury in a new light.

This article contains affiliate links to products independently selected by our editors. As an Amazon Associate, Dandelion Chandelier receives a commission for qualifying purchases made through these links. 

Crediting her training as a cultural anthropologist at Wellesley College, Julie has immersed herself in various industries in the last 15 years including fashion design, event planning, and fitness. Julie lives in New York where she loves trying every ramen and dumpling restaurant with her husband and three children. She finds joy in bold prints, biographies of fierce women, kickboxing. And spending way too long finding the perfect polish color to express her mood.

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Join our community

For access to insider ideas and information on the world of luxury, sign up for our Dandelion Chandelier newsletter. And see luxury in a new light.

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