Summit One Vanderbilt vs The Edge Comparison
Observation platform one-upmanship in the Big Apple has taken humanity to terrifying new heights in recent years. But few have gone as far as the giants that are Summit One Vanderbilt and Edge, both of which offer genuinely unique new experiences for the fearless adrenaline junkie from their nerve-jangling locations over 1,000 feet in the air. So: two skyscrapers, both alike in terror-inducing height. But which is higher? Which one can you scale? Which has a mirrored infinity room? And which boasts the best views of the Empire State Building? Dive in to our guide to find out how Edge and Summit One compare.
Name: Summit One Vanderbilt. Or, if you insist, SUMMIT One Vanderbilt. But ask any NYC local for directions to plain old Summit One and they’ll know exactly where you mean.
Age: The tapering wedge of concrete, glass, steel and terracotta tiles that is One Vanderbilt opened its doors in September 2020. Its crowning glory, Summit One Vanderbilt, opened a tear later in October 2021.
What is Summit One? Coming up with a new concept for a Manhattan observation platform is no mean feat, given that the primary draw is always going to be those stunning 360-degree views of the iconic skyline. But a new concept is just what Summit One has achieved, adding cool art installations and dreamlike immersive experiences that will – says the PR blurb – see you ‘break through to a new realm’ and ‘escape the boundaries of perception’.
Summit One: Vital Statistics
- Height: At the time of writing, One Vanderbilt is the fourth tallest building in New York, standing at 1,401 feet (427 meters). You’ll find the Summit One observation platforms a heart-stopping 1,100 feet (336 meters) over Madison Avenue.
- Number of floors: 93.
- Elevators: 42.
- Visitors: Despite the pandemic, Summit One welcomed a whopping 1.4 million visitors in its first year (to October 2022).
What’s the Summit One Vanderbilt Experience Like?
Standard tickets take you on a thrilling journey through four ‘chapters’ of frankly hallucinatory immersive experiences. You’ll start in Transcendence, where mirrored floors and ceilings reflect the city skyline, the clouds (and you) to infinity. The journey continues through Unity and Affinity, which feature such trippy effects as floating silver balls and your own face rendered in cloud form, before ascending to the main event – Levitation – a series of glass boxes that hover above the city streets. Peer down between your toes, if you dare, at the distant hustle and bustle of Madison Avenue, a mere 1,063 feet below. You’ll also get some of the best views of the Empire State and Chrysler buildings from up here. Daredevils can get higher still with the ultimate add-on experience. Buckle up for ‘Ascent’, in which fearless fun seekers can enjoy the twin sensations of stomachs dropping and knees buckling aboard one of two *glass-bottomed elevators* (the largest in the world, fact fans) that rise a further 120 feet into the air.
Fascinating Summit One Fact of the Day
If the eye-catching tiles that punctuate One Vanderbilt’s gleaming glass exterior look familiar, that’s because they’re the same tiles used on the ceilings inside the adjoining Grand Central Station!
Summit One Vanderbilt Fast Facts
- Opening hours: 9AM-midnight, year round. Last entry is at 10PM.
- Tickets: there are several booking options available on the Summit One website.
- Closest transport links: the entrance to Summit One Vanderbilt is located on the main concourse of Grand Central Terminal.
But how does Summit One compare to Edge? Let’s find out...
Name: Not to be confused with the U2 guitarist of the same name (height 5 feet 10 inches), Edge (height 1,131 feet) is the highest outdoor observation deck in the Western Hemisphere.
Age: 30 Hudson Yards – currently NYC’s sixth-tallest skyscraper – was completed in March 2019. Edge opened in March 2020, closing after a mere two days due to the pandemic, then reopening in September 2020.
What is Edge? Only the highest outdoor observation deck in the Western Hemisphere and the second highest viewing deck in NYC, after the One World Observatory’s fully enclosed platform.
Edge: Vital Statistics
- Height: Up on the 100th floor, the Edge platform is at 1,131 feet (345 meters), while guests brave enough to book the City Climb experience will reach 1,271 feet (381 meters) at The Apex.
- Number of floors: 103.
- Elevators: 59.
- Distance the Edge platform protrudes from the main building: 80 feet.
What’s the Edge Experience Like?
This one’s definitely not for the faint of heart. Here on the 100th floor, 1,131 feet above terra firma, is where you’ll find some of the most astonishing 360-degree views of the Big Apple and beyond. Edge’s unique gimmick is as simple as it is frightening: the triangular viewing platform (complete with transparent floor, natch) protrudes 80 feet from the side of the building, hanging suspended over the streets of New York. And, as if that isn’t thrilling enough, there’s also the City Climb, in which brave souls are harnessed to the building for a bucket-list ascent to The Apex. Scale the top of the skyscraper and summon those nerves of steel to lean right out over the edge at an epic 1,271 feet.
Fascinating Edge Fact of the Day
The transparent nine foot balcony that surrounds Edge is angled outwards at 6.6 degrees, meaning visitors can safely ‘overhang’ the ground and rooftops far below.
Edge Fast Facts
- Opening hours: 9AM-10PM Monday-Thursday; 9AM-midnight Friday-Sunday. The last elevator ascends 50 minutes before closing.
- Tickets: general admission to Edge is included with a New York Pass. Alternatively, you’ll find various ticket options, including the epic City Climb, at the Edge website.
- Closest transport links: the No.7 Subway is the main route into Hudson Yards, and several bus lines also stop within a few minutes’ walk.
Summit One Vanderbilt vs Edge: Which Should You Visit?
If you only have time to do one, the decision is probably best based on your own personal tolerance for heights. Sure, Summit One’s Levitation zone is nerve-wracking, but it’s got nothing on Edge’s huge, protruding glass platform. A New York Pass gets you access to the nail-biting see-through platform at Edge as well as dozens more top New York attractions.