A couple of weeks ago while visiting New York City, I went to the top of the new One World Trade tower, also known as the Freedom Tower. Having been to the top of both the Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center over the last several visits to New York, I’d been skeptical of my need to go to the top of yet another high building. My New Yorker friend insisted I go, though, telling me that the elevator ride up made it all worth it and that, yes, there was a very nice view at the top.

As a claustrophobe, I wasn’t sure how the elevator ride could be awesome in any way, shape, or form, but my friend made me promise to at least try to keep my eyes open for the surprise. SPOILER ALERT! I am now going to tell you the cool thing about the elevator at One World Trade, so if you don’t want to know, don’t read more! Ahem, okay, so. I got on the elevator and when they crammed a bunch more folks in behind me, my heart started to race, but I kept my eyes open. As the elevator began to rise I realized that the walls were all LED screens and we popped out of the basement of the building and onto a view of what the city looked like in 1524 when it was discovered. Hint: lots of grassy fields and lots of water! Then as we rose into the air, the date changed and the city literally grew up around us through the decades. I would have happily ridden that elevator about ten more times! Alas, you only get to ride it once.

Word to the wise! Don’t get suckered into renting the iPads at the top. Basically, they are iPads that you can hold up at any window and it will tell you what buildings you’re looking at. They seem like a fun and cool idea until you’re lugging it around. They’re heavy and annoying and after a few minutes you’ll realize that you will enjoy yourself a thousand-fold more if you just stand back and enjoy the view. Basically, they were $15 bucks down the drain. Also it was harder than I thought it would be to get rid of them so I could enjoy the view unencumbered.

The view was phenomenal. The entire city was in view from all sides. It was, as you can see, not that easy to get a great shot with just my iPhone, so I eventually gave up on that, too.

There are two possibilities for meals at the top of One World Trade. The first is where most of the tourists seemed to go: a little stand-up sort of cafe with pizza, hot dogs, and the usual tourist fare. The other was a sit down restaurant that was mainly peopled with men and women in business suits conducting meetings. The prices were steep (like really steep!) but I wasn’t in the mood for some terrible greasy food. I wanted something delicious. So I paid for the nice restaurant and what a view we had! These pictures go left to right and speak to the fantastic view in the restaurant.

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My food was absolutely delicious and served very elegantly. I felt like the experience was worth the money, but I understand entirely if others might balk at the food prices on the restaurant menu.

All in all, I found the experience enjoyable and recommend it. Though, if I had to say which of the highest buildings is my favorite experience, I’ll have to stick with the good ol’ Empire State Building. The elevator ride up is terrifying but there’s just something about the place. It feels like New York to me and One World Trade felt like a very pretty experience. There’s a difference.

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