The New Old View From New York’s Top

No doubt, this is soon gonna be one of the world’s probably most photographed panoramas again — the stunning view from the observation deck of New York’s One World Trade Center, reaching some 400 meters or 1,250 feet into the sky. Once completed, the skyscraper formerly called Freedom Tower will be the tallest structure in the Western hemisphere.

Below is a first glimpse from the planned public observation deck that will become one of the globe’s premier tourist attractions. I’ve been up there on the South Tower in the 80s with a Rollei 35, to this day world’s most compact full-frame point-and-shoot! Can’t remember which one. But it had no zoom and because the outside platform on the 110th was set back, the anti-suicide fence didn’t obstruct the view.

Unlike the observation deck on the Empire State Building, there was only an ordinary railing. Great for photos, you’d think. But all my Rollei — love these things! — could capture was lots of sky, the roof structure and a tiny bit of panorama in-between.

The One World Trade Center’s public observation deck is expected to open in 2015. The old South Tower received an average of 80,000 visitors a day. One can only imagine how popular the new deck will be. An elevator will transport visitors up to the 102nd floor in a mere 60 seconds. The observatory itself will span the 100th to 102nd floors.

Well I hope they go for the option of an unobstructed view again. It’s difficult to shoot through thick reflecting window glass. Well maybe they won’t, for this and that security reason. It’s gonna be a 104-story building. Could be a landscapers paradise.

But what I find truly amazing is that the panorama below looks so strikingly similar to what everyone remembers who was on the top of the South Tower, albeit each day, each hour the view from high above New York offered an always changing, different panorama. Not two people saw the same. Now the magic view is back, as if lost time is found again.

Spencer Platt | Getty Images
Spencer Platt | Getty Images