Walking on ‘Air’: New York’s newest skyscraper attraction


A woman poses as members of the media attend a press preview to discover SUMMIT by Night ahead of the opening of SUMMIT One Vanderbilt in New York on October 18, 2021. AFP

NEW YORK – How does it feel to be soaring more than 300 meters in the air? A new tourist attraction opening in New York this week attempts to answer that question.

“Air,” an art installation by artist Kenzo Digital, opens Thursday inside the recently completed One Vanderbilt Tower, now the Big Apple’s fourth tallest tower.

An all-glass elevator, including the floor, takes thrill seekers to the side of the building in Midtown Manhattan to 1,200 feet in just 42 seconds.

There they come out on three floors of glass and mirrors that offer spectacular views but also aim to distort the perception of where they are, making them appear to be floating.

The experience challenges “the perception of space and plunges the visitor into a factory of silhouettes and skyscrapers”, according to Kenzo, known for his collaborations with singer Beyonce.

It’s “euphoric and multisensory,” he says.

Nick Barat, who got the glimpse as part of a press visit on Monday, said the art installation made it different from other observatories in the city, such as the Empire State Building.

“It makes you think about the relationship you have with the city and with yourself,” he told AFP.

One Vanderbilt, next to Grand Central Station, is 1,401 feet tall, including its spire.

Only One World Trade Center and the residential skyscrapers of Central Park Tower and 111 West 57th Street in New York City are taller.

The Kohn Pederson Fox design features two glass boxes that protrude from the building and suspend guests 1,063 feet above Madison Avenue.

On a clear day it is possible to see over 100 kilometers.

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