Is SUMMIT One Vanderbilt an interactive artwork—or the world's tallest fun house? You could make a case for either. The attraction is undeniably a house of mirrors, but it was created by artist Kenzo Digital.
When visitors finish the ear-popping 42-second elevator ride up 1,000 feet, they emerge into Air, a building-wide space in which every inch of the floors, ceilings, and walls are covered with mirrors. This has the effect of projecting the cityscape all around the visitor. It's a dazzling effect that turns every selfie into a masterpiece. In the evening, a light show transforms many of these mirrored surfaces into groovy bands of light (pictured above).
Air is just the start of the experience. Visitors are also invited to take photos and enjoy the views in Levitation, a set of all-glass skyboxes that project from the building's facade, hanging over the sidewalk 1,063 feet below (pictured below).
In another room, visitors' faces are transformed into clouds projected on the walls (yes, you do start to wonder what the creators were on when they came up with all this). Elsewhere, guests get to bat around mirrored orbs that reflect the views. The latter is another primo Instagram opportunity. On the top floor is an outdoor terrace with an attached bar/light bites restaurant called Apres from famed restaurateur Danny Meyer.
The last attraction, known as Ascent, was probably the most anticipated when the observation deck first opened. It's an all-glass elevator that climbs the outside of the building to its heighest point at 1,200 feet.
Unfortunately, the glass-floored ride requires an additional fee of $20—which is just too much for a 3-minute experience. The views aren't appreciably different when you're already up this high, and looking down isn't even all that scary because the elevator has a terrace below it. The stationary skyboxes are far more thrilling.
Some practical advice: Give yourself a good hour and a half to see everything here and, because you're walking on mirrors, don't wear a skirt unless you want to be part of the show.
Because the windows are engineered to let in a good 98% of natural light, the glare at SUMMIT can be intense. Disposable sunglasses are distributed to all daytime guests, but the specs won't stay put on top of regular glasses, so if you wear corrective lenses, bring along a pair of prescription sunglasses.
The nighttime light show is fun, but the lights do reflect in the windows quite a bit. That might cause trouble if you're hoping to get good photos of the views.
All tickets are timed. To ensure you get in when you want, buy tickets in advance rather than walking up as the attraction has been known to sell out.
For more on getting the most out of a visit to SUMMIT One Vanderbilt, including lots of dazzling photos, read our full tour of the attraction.