One World Observatory - New York
New York City Travel Diary

NYC Weekend: Day 5—One World Observatory and Flying Home

December 10, 2017—Our tickets for One World Observatory were for 9:00 am, so we made sure we were ready to go and completely packed by 8:15 am.

Before we left for our trip, I asked people on Instagram for the best places to get coffee in NYC and I received lots of recommendations for Gregory’s Coffee. It’s a chain with locations in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, DC. There just happened to be a location right outside our hotel in front of the train station, so we went there first to grab a light breakfast and some coffee. It was definitely a great recommendation!

Coffee from Gregory's Coffee in New York City

We made our way into the city for the last time and headed straight for the entrance to One World Observatory. Our hotel was so convenient for this. Door to door, even with a coffee stop, it only took 15 minutes to get there.

The train that connects NJ with NYC
The train that connects NJ with NYC

We got in line with everyone else waiting to go up with a 9:00 am ticket. We got there at least 15 minutes before it opened and I’m glad we did. There were probably 10 – 15 people ahead of us, but at least 30 behind us. Once we showed our tickets, we were put through security (bag scan and metal detector), then we were off to get on the magical elevator.

Note: they do not allow big bags like backpacks or luggage and they do not have a coat/bag check. So if you’re headed there before your flight, make sure you have a place to keep your bags. Luckily, we went before we had to check out of our hotel, so we didn’t have to worry about this. 

One World Observatory sign

Before we reached the elevator, we walked through some hallways that were decorated to look like a rocky ice palace I think. I’m not really sure what they were going for. But the way it was laid out, I think it was meant to be a queue for when the lines got long. Since we were the first ones up, there was zero line. I HIGHLY recommend going early even if you aren’t trying to catch a flight.

Inside One World Observatory

We made it to the elevators where we joined 4 other people. We walked on so fast, I can’t remember how many elevators there were, but it seemed like quite a lot. The inside of the elevator was magical. We were surrounded by screens making it look like the walls were made of glass and we were looking out to the city. The video was much more than just a look to the outside, but I’ll save the magic for when you get to visit yourself. The ride was only 47 seconds, but we climbed 102 stories going 23 mph.

Once we reached the top, we were brought to a room where we were placed in front of a giant screen. Once the movie finished playing, it rose up to reveal a spectacular view of the city; it was quite an introduction.

After the revelation, we were brought to another area where they started telling us about an iPad thing we could pay extra for that would tell us what we were looking at as we wandered around the different windows. We were so lucky that Kinan gave us a heads up about this the day before. He told us the “spiel” isn’t mandatory and that we should just make a beeline for the escalators down to the observatory as soon as they start talking. We did exactly as we were told and it worked like a dream. We were the first ones down to the observatory and had it all to ourselves for about 5 minutes. It was PERFECT. So if you go, just remember to skip out on the iPad sales pitch and immediately go to the left where you’ll find the escalators down to the observatory.

Once we reached the giant windows of the observatory, we were met with the most gorgeous views of NYC in all directions. The morning light made some of my pictures super bright and there was some ice on the windows which interfered a bit, but overall I think they came out well!

View of New York City from One World Observatory

View of New York City from One World ObservatoryView of New York City from One World Observatory

View of the Statue of Liberty from One World Observatory
Statue of Liberty, the only time we saw her!

View of New York City from One World Observatory

View of New York City from One World Observatory

View of New York City from One World Observatory
Icy window

View of New York City from One World Observatory

View of New York City from One World Observatory

View of New Jersey from One World Observatory
Shadow of One World Trade
View of New York City from One World Observatory
Brooklyn Bridge
View of New York City from One World Observatory
At the base of the windows, they have a silhouette of the city skyline. It casts a cool shadow on the floor when the lighting is right.

Inside One World Observatory

View of New York City from One World Observatory

Shadow of the city skyline on the floor
view of New Jersey from One World Observatory - New York
New Jersey!
One World Observatory - New York
Statue of Liberty in the distance

We were up top for maybe 20 minutes. As soon as the big group of people that stayed behind for the sales pitch came down, we could barely find a spot to see out. If you can’t see out, what’s the point of being there? We had taken all the pictures we possibly could anyway, so we headed out. We left the observatory at 9:45am. So this entire thing only took us 45 minutes. I was so glad we decided to take the risk and change our tickets.

We made our way back to the hotel, gathered our things, checked out, and called an Uber to the airport.

One last look at the pretty city

We got to the Newark airport and were alerted that our flight was delayed. Is it weird that I enjoy delays? It meant we got to check out the Newark Priority Pass Lounge for breakfast.

We found it and checked in. Turns out, this lounge was completely Kosher. I would have thought we walked in the wrong place if they hadn’t welcomed us in with our pass. It was a small lounge, but they had more Kosher foods and Rabbi’s than I’ve ever seen in one place. Everything was in English and Hebrew. It was really interesting! They also had really comfy chairs.

We hung out there for an hour and then made our way to security. If you’ve followed me for a while you know that I hate airport security. It makes me so anxious for absolutely no reason. It’s not like I have anything to hide!

The TSA agents at Newark were the most relaxed and polite TSA agents I’ve ever met. They were laughing, cutting up, and made me way less anxious. You’re lucky if you even get a smile from a TSA agent in Atlanta. One guy coming through had a roasted chicken that his mom made him. A full roasted chicken. The TSA agent was giving him a hard time and told him he’d let him through only if he could get the recipe. Apparently, as long as there’s not a sauce, you can bring a full roasted chicken as a carry-on. Yep.

Anyway, We got through just fine and found our gate. Our flight was uneventful and we got back to a snowy Atlanta around 3:00 pm.

I was hoping there would still be snow on the ground when we got back and there sure was. Our side yard had at least 6 inches covering it. I haven’t seen that much snow in Georgia since the snowpocalypse of 2014.

New York skyline at night

We had such a great time in New York. I have to say I was skeptical. I am not a city person at all and I had heard that New Yorkers aren’t the nicest. I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed our time there. It was a huge bonus that we got to hang out with Kinan and Sam too. Now that I’ve been and have my bearings, I’d love to go back and do some less touristy stuff one day. We didn’t get to go to a Broadway show or visit the Statue of Liberty, but there’s only so much you can do in a weekend (and it means we have an excuse to go back)!



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