I’ve been to New York many times but any time something new and interesting comes up, you bet I’d add it to my list of things to do!
Having been to almost all of the top observatories in the city, it’s always exciting to see how they take on the challenge to being the new best thing. But being a full time traveler I’m very familiar with the expectations vs. reality game and when people started posting on social media about Summit One Vanderbilt observatory I was a little wary as these kind of places tend to be over packed and that’s not something I personally enjoy.
Also, I wanted to take the opportunity to take great photos and a room packed to the brim with tourists… is not ideal for me. BUT I gave in and went with the attitude of “we’re gonna go anyways and if we can take photos great but if not… we just get to see what the place is about”, basically the same attitude I had when we visited The Edge, last year.
We bought the SUMMIT ASCENT tickets ($39) + $20 EXTRA per person to go on another elevator… I don’t think those extra $20 each were worth it and the general admission tickets (SUMMIT EXPERIENCE) are good enough. But check the Summit One Vanderbilt website for more details to see what tickets would be better for you. Make sure you but your tickets online as there often sold out for the day.
TAKING PHOTOS AT SUMMIT ONE VANDERBILT
Although they limit the people in the building per time slots…there’s crowds. I mean it’s only natural… it’s a tourist attraction!
I’m sure you’ve seen some influencers having the whole place for themselves while running on their dreamy videos but that’s because sometimes they’re invited to promote the experience and create great content when the public is not all over the place. But us, mere mortals who don’t get VIP treatment but want nice photos, have to get creative and figure out how to avoid other people in our frame. I’m very experienced when it comes to this so I’ll share my top tips with you:
1. Be very patient. People will see your intent to go for a spot for a few photos and most of the time they’re nice and wait (some don’t, that’s for sure!) but when people see they’ll be able to do the same… the cooperate and everybody gets nice photos! Don’t horde spots for too long though! Everybody wants to enjoy the place as well.
2. Be creative. Don’t go for the obvious spots where everybody would be standing. Perspective is everything so just have fun walking around and finding the best angles.
3. Pick the best time to visit. Everybody wants to be there for sunset… so I avoid it. And tourists usually don’t like waking up early, so first time in the morning is a great option! The night time experience also seemed nice but… I wouldn’t trust the lighting if photos are important for you.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU VISIT
You’ll be walking on mirrors and in order for them not to be damaged. They make you wear very unaesthetic booties over your shoes that will ruin any cute outfit. What I did was wear socks that wouldn’t show too much and put my shoes in a bag that I carried around. You can see the booties in a couple of my photos… I wish there wasn’t! But all in all wearing something that covered my feet most of the time, did the trick. -Obviously heels are not permitted.
They also discourage people from wearing short dresses or skirts as, again, you’ll be walking on mirrors and they might reflect things they shouldn’t.
The sun hits with intensity! The reflection on the sunlight on the mirrors is pretty hard so you’d want to put some extra sunscreen and definitely bring your own sunglasses. If you forget, they’ll lend you some.
PROFESSIONAL equipment IS NOT ALLOWED
Do not take gimbals, selfie sticks, tripods, lighting or anything like that as they’re simply not allowed. I guess cameras are allowed but what they don’t want is for people to be creating commercial content which is a standard rule.
Last but not least, enjoy the experience! Look around you, soak up brilliant views. Don’t make it all about the photos, which are always nice to have but don’t make it so it’s the sole purpose of your visit. Be present 🖤
Watch a short video of my visit to Summit One Vanderbilt and follow me for more travel experiences around the world!
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