Editor’s note: This story has been updated with new information.
Edge — a cantilevered observation deck clinging to the 100th story of a gleaming new skyscraper in New York City — opened to the public in March 2020. Just days after its grand debut, it was shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Since its reopening, Edge has become one of the most popular observation decks in the city. It’s also added even more offerings to its lineup of experiences including a new “sky skating” activity that will be available through mid-March, and a permanent climbing experience that brings you even higher — in a harness.
If you’re planning a trip to New York City, here’s what you need to know about Edge.
Edge Observation Deck
From a height of more than 1,130 feet, the outdoor sky deck extends nearly 80 feet beyond the side of the building. On a clear day, it offers sweeping views of Manhattan, the Hudson River and beyond into New Jersey and the surrounding boroughs.
To put things in perspective, the observation deck at One World Trade Center is higher, at 1,368 feet, but it’s inside — as is the highest floor in the Empire State Building (1,250 feet). That skyscraper’s 86th-floor outdoor observation deck, at 1,050 feet, falls about 80 feet short of Edge. And from Edge, you can enjoy a pretty good view of both landmarks.
For travelers familiar with the observation deck experiences at One World Trade and the Empire State Building, a visit to Edge may feel familiar.
You’ll likely enter through 20 Hudson Yards, one of the main entrances to the retail, dining and office complex across from the Vessel, and head up to the fourth floor.
On your way to Edge after security, you’ll pass through a series of multimedia rooms designed to distract from the sense of being stuck in a line.
There’s a photo opportunity (think: step-and-repeat, without the red carpet) and informative displays that describe the neighborhood’s clean energy initiatives and groundbreaking engineering. After all, the entire neighborhood is elevated on a platform above working railyards.
But what you’re really here for is the outdoor observation deck. An elevator whisks you to the 100th floor in under a minute, while a video shows how Hudson Yards materialized from a series of blueprints and sketches into a functioning neighborhood.
An expansive interior space, crafted by Rockwell Group, features neutral marbles and metals that appear to change color as the lighting evolves throughout the day. A dramatic staircase with steps that seem to float takes you to the 101st-floor restaurant, Peak.
Or, you can stay on the 100th floor, and head out onto Edge.
You’ll immediately be drawn to the 225-square-foot triangular glass cutout on the floor.
Edge features massive 9-foot glass panels pitched outward at a slight angle, which adds to the, well, edgeless experience of the platform. Out here, there are no metal supports to distort your view of the city. In fact, each of the 79 glass panels is separated by an open border designed to give you a totally uninterrupted view — no glass, no glare, just sky — and, theoretically, a perfect photo with your smartphone camera.
(In practice, that hasn’t really worked for me; maybe my iPhone photography technique needs some work.) But to the naked eye, I can confirm that, without any reflection or barrier, the view is spectacular.
At the easternmost point, visitors can lean back against the skyline. It’s designed so just one person can stand in the corner at a time, making it perfect for photos.
The wind can really gust outside at Edge — you can feel how high up you are because there’s not much else to block the rush of air. However, as you ascend the grandstand-style staircase (presumably the highest in the hemisphere), the building itself blocks the wind, and you can enjoy an almost quiet, serene moment. Well, except for the people undoubtedly sharing the space and taking selfies all around you.
Admittedly, I’m a sucker for this kind of attraction. Whenever I visit a city for the first time, I immediately head to the highest viewpoint possible. It’s a great way to get a lay of the land — and an even better way to get great aerial photographs of a city.
But Edge really does wow you when you pass through the revolving glass doors. Maybe it’s because you’ve been hit in the face by a blast of wind. Or, it could be the almost glare- and reflection-free view. Also, with its glass floor and angled walls, Edge borders on a low-key thrill amusement.
But travelers craving more of an adrenaline kick can climb even higher by literally scaling the outside of the skyscraper.
In November 2021, Edge launched City Climb, a way for daredevils to scale to an even higher point on the glass tower. It’s considered the highest open-air building ascent on Earth. Participants can don blue jumpsuits, submit to an array of harness checks and safety briefings and climb a 45-degree staircase before leaning out over the building and waving at the observers on the observation deck below.
Between slipping into your jumpsuit and harness, climbing the staircase and learning to let go and lean back toward Manhattan, the whole experience takes about 2 hours. It’s not a cheap way to spend an afternoon, but it does come with serious bragging rights about conquering the most adventurous observation deck experience in the city.
Most recently, in January of this year, Edge announced a seasonal 1,024-square-foot ice skating rink that, in keeping with the observation deck’s penchant for superlatives, is the highest in New York City. From now through March 14, you can skate to skyline views and, on Thursday and Friday nights, there will even be a live DJ spinning beats while you toe-loop across the ice.
Hours and admission
Adult general admission for Edge starts at $40 if you book a date and time for your visit online. Tickets for children ages 6 to 12 start from $35, while senior tickets start from $38.
Flex Passes must still be reserved for a specific date, but allow visitors to the Edge at any time. Every adult, child and senior will need to budget an additional $20 per person for the flexibility.
Admission to City Climb costs $185, and participants must be at least 13 years of age (an adult 18 or older must accompany any minors). City Climb tickets include access to Edge, plus a medal (for the bragging, of course) and a video documenting your climb.
For visitors who want to strap on their skates before (or after) taking in the view, Sky Skate costs an additional $10 on top of the standard access to Edge ($50 for adults, which includes 30 minutes on the rink and skate rentals).
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Even though Edge continues to up the ante, it’s no longer the newest observation deck in New York City. No, that distinction goes to Summit, which opened in Midtown above Grand Central in October 2021.
Additional reporting by Laura Itzkowitz.