Edge, a cantilevered observation deck jutting out from the 100th floor of the Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF)-designed 30 Hudson Yards supertall, opened to the public yesterday at Manhattan’s Hudson Yards.
Before officially opening to the ticket-holding general public in the afternoon, project developers Related Companies and Oxford Property Group hosted an invite-only opening day celebration featuring a jaunty brass band, influencers aplenty, and a dizzying choreographed performance by aerial dance troupe Bandaloop. But before the sky dancers rappelled down the side of the building from high above the outdoor viewing area and proceeded to twirl and twist and leap and flip 1,000-plus feet above the streets of New York City, something else hanging over the assembled crowd was addressed: coronavirus.
As relayed to media and others at the event, Edge, which is the tallest outdoor observation deck in the Western Hemisphere and the fifth-highest in the world, will operate regularly as planned. The number of ticket sales, however, will be reduced to minimize crowds in a proactive effort to curb potential spread of the virus.* Once it’s deemed safe to do so, normal ticket sales—they run $36 per adult and $34 for New York residents—will resume. In addition to this somewhat somber announcement, the launch of a new Tuesdays-only program offering New York City Public School groups free admission to both Edge and Vessel, another crowd-drawing Hudson Yards attraction, was also unveiled by Jeff Blau, chief executive officer of Related. Following yesterday’s event, a group of fifth-graders from P.S. 33 in Manhattan got a special sneak-peak of Edge before its wider general opening.
Floating 1,131 feet above the city and encased in 79 frameless angled glass panels, Edge is no doubt an acrophobe’s absolute worst nightmare. A small section of the triangular, 7,500 square foot viewing deck that boasts see-through glass panel flooring will test the fortitude of even the pluckiest of visitors.
But the 360-degree views afforded from the top—especially on a clear and sunny day like yesterday—are magnificent. Premium-priced views aside, Edge itself is a remarkable feat of engineering that, per a press release from Related, “completes the tower’s architectural dialogue with the city.” The deck itself protrudes 80 feet from the side of the skyscraper and is composed of 15 different stone sections, each weighing between 35,000 and 150,000 pounds, that are anchored to the building’s south and east exterior elevations.
“The Edge observation deck is the most dramatic in a series of gestures which link KPF’s buildings, in the Hudson Yards development, to the principal surrounding structures of the city,” said William Pedersen, KPF founding principal. “Gesturing directly towards the Empire State Building, and higher than its observation deck, Edge pays homage to its role as the most emblematic of all New York buildings.”
Aside from the star attraction observation deck, the 100th floor at 30 Hudson Yards—also home to the controversy-marred $25 billion megadevelopment’s shopping mall which takes up the bottom four floors of the building and is the main access point to Edge—there’s also a spacious indoor viewing area, gift shop, multimedia experience documenting the construction of Hudson Yards, and a champagne bar for fueling up on liquid courage before stepping outside. One floor up, on the 101st floor, is a full-service restaurant and event space named Peak. Edge’s interior spaces and Peak were designed by Rockwell Group.
It’s also worth noting that the ear-popping elevator ride up to the top takes a little less than a minute. And to get to the actual elevator bank, visitors are led through a winding corridor beyond the ticketing booth where lighting and sound effects make the whole experience akin to queueing up to board a Disney theme park ride. It’s the Tower of Terror, Hudson Yards-style.
Edge is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to midnight.
* After this article was published on March 12, it was announced that Edge will temporarily close to visitors on March 13 “following guidance from the Governor limiting gatherings of 500+ people to aid in the containment of COVID-19.” .