Your journey to the top of the One World Observatory begins the second you set foot in its high-tech elevators. The elevators, also known as Sky Pods, travel at a breakneck speed covering 102 floors in 47 seconds. But don't expect your journey to the top to be just another elevator ride with some instrumental music to accompany you along the way. The walls are lined with nine three-dimensional time-lapse screens that project New York City's history over the last 500+ years. In each elevator cab, these 75-inch high-definition screens create the illusion that you're in an elevator with glass walls.
As you continue your ascent to the observatory, you can watch New York City unfold into the bustling international city it is today. The first part of the trip begins in the 1500s and shows Manhattan as grass-covered land, but as time passes, more and more urban elements sprout up. Before you reach the top, you see modern New York City. Along the way, there is also a brief homage to the fallen Twin Towers, but the focus then shifts towards the future.
While immersed in the digital unfolding of some of New York's most celebrated landmarks -- like St. Paul's Cathedral, the Empire State Building and the old Penn Station -- you will forget that the elevators are moving at an astonishing 2,000 feet per minute or approximately 23 miles an hour! The elevators at the One World Observatory are one of the most striking ways to begin a tour anywhere in the world.
Cover photo credit: @oneworldnyc via Instagram