Stand aside Empire State Building and Top of The Rock, One World Trade Center will shortly be opening its 3 story observation deck on floors 100, 101 and 102. They already have a website where you can buy tickets from April 8th, WTC Observatory and you can book ahead to be one of the first to see views from the tallest observation deck in the nation.
And it won’t just be a ‘go up in an elevator, step out and look around’ experience. No, it starts with a ‘Preshow Program’ about the people who helped build the new One WTC. Then there’s a ‘Foundation Program’ all about the history of the building. Then it’s into 5 sky pods (which the uninitiated call elevators) and you go straight up to the 102nd floor and even then you have to watch another 2 min video before you go down to the 100t5h floor where you get to see the views. Frankly it seems very complicated and some parts of it may prove to be unnecessary.
There’s going to cafes and restaurants on the 101st floor. And none of this is dirt cheap. Just comparing the price for an adult ticket with its rivals, OneWTC costs $32, Empire State Building costs $36-$75, (the latter price for the luxury no waiting ticket price) and Top of the Rock costs $30. The prices for children and seniors are comparable among the 3 observation decks.
So all observation decks cost roughly the same except that the Empire State offers a luxury no waiting offer. And that’s the difficulty when it comes to comparisons. The big drawback with both the Empire State Building and Top of the Rock is that unless you go first thing in the morning or late at night, you need to factor in a wait of at least 2 hours as you shuffle along in waiting lines.
If OneWTC manages to offer a brisker and quicker waiting line experience, combined with its height advantage over its 2 rival observation decks, then they could pull a lot of business from the other two. One WTC opens in May so that’s when the unique nature of the OneWTC experience will be clear.