Stepping Out on the Edge

The Edge is the highest observation deck in the Western Hemisphere, and the fifth highest in the world. It juts out of a modern and elegant 30 Hudson Yards building that glitters day and night. If you are afraid of heights, it’s unlikely you’ll ever travel up the speedy elevators that bring you 100 stories above Manhattan, but if you do, you’ll be treated to video stories displayed on the walls of the elevator cab that bring you into the clouds on the way up and on virtual flight back to earth on the return trip. As fun as the elevators are, nothing beats the actual view that greets you when you arrive.

The observation deck features epic views of the Manhattan skyline, the Hudson River and New Jersey beyond, Long Island Sound and most of the famous sites you’d think of when you think of New York: The Statue of Liberty, The Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building, The George Washington Bridge, the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, the Freedom Tower and Chrysler Building are all visible on a clear day. If you time your visit right, you have a great view for sunset. It’s a breathtaking spot, and it’s clearly become very popular as a destination all its own.

Frankly, if you’re not afraid of heights there is still a moment that gives you pause when you visit. That would be the moment you step out onto the glass floor and look down at the traffic 1131 feet below you. I passed this particular test, but balked when someone told me to jump up and down on the floor. There are a list of things that one shouldn’t do in life, and near the top is tempting fate.

Also available to fate tempters are the 2+ inch thick glass panels that lean outward from the deck, giving you the opportunity to literally lean out over the edge if you’re inclined to do so. For all the people visiting at the time I was there, there weren’t a lot of people leaning on the glass. Self-preservation is indeed a powerful instinct.

There is a stepped seating area that climbs up even higher, if you want to sit for awhile and linger with the extraordinary views. When you’ve been to New York City many times, and have spent hours of your lifetime navigating the roads of the Metro New York area, it’s fascinating to see everything from so high up. A glance and turn of the head to look from Sandy Hook, New Jersey to the George Washington Bridge might take you a second or two, or two or three hours to drive it. You feel like you’re flying in this way, and this feeling is amplified as you realize that many of the planes flying up the Hudson River are actually lower than you.

If you go, try to time it to be there for sunset on a calm day. Have lunch at one of the many restaurants at Hudson Yards and give yourself enough time to savor the views. It’s a trip you’ll remember. The Edge literally puts you out on the edge of a skyscraper, which isn’t as terrifying as that might sound. You almost forget where you are as you soak up the views around you. This is what you’ll remember when you return to earth.

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