16 Fun Facts about the One Vanderbilt NYC

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With the One Vanderbilt skyscraper, there is a new landmark in New York, which significantly shapes the skyline of the city. It not only holds New York’s new observation deck on floors 72 and 73, but it also holds several other records.

In a separate article, I have put together everything you need to know about the One Vanderbilt tickets.

1. It is New York’s Tallest Office Building in Midtown

At 1,401 feet (427 meters), One Vanderbilt is the fourth tallest building in New York City, towering over the nearby Chrysler Building by more than 400 feet. The tallest building is One World Trade Center (1,776 feet/541 meters), ahead of Central Park Tower (1,550 feet/472 meters) and Steinway Tower (1,428 feet/435 meters).

I don’t know about you, but if I had my office there with that incredible view, I wouldn’t even get to work!

one vanderbilt the summit observation deck in new york
The newly built One Vanderbilt looks like it has always been a part of the skyline.

2. It has an Observation Deck: SUMMIT One Vanderbilt

The observation deck at One Vanderbilt is unique in New York for several reasons. Like the Skydeck in Chicago, it has glass boxes called Levitation that protrude from the building and from which you can look down vertically. Only The Edge Hudson Yards can offer a similar view.

the summit one vanderbilt

In addition, the location is perfect for seeing all the major buildings and attractions, from Central Park and the Chrysler Building to the Empire State Building, Hudson Yards, and the Lower Manhattan skyline.

3. SUMMIT One Vanderbilt has the Largest Glass Elevators in the World

Summit One Vanderbilt Observation Deck

Called Ascent, the glass elevators allow you to go up another 120 feet from the terrace and top the already sensational view. You’ll be 1,210 feet (369 meters) above 42nd Street. They can carry 10,000 lbs. (4.5 tons); that’s the weight of three yellow cabs!

4. The Architectural Firm Also Designed Edge Hudson Yards

James von Klemperer of the architectural firm Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) has been the lead architect on One Vanderbilt. KPF is active around the world and is known for designing particularly tall buildings with a balanced mix of offices, restaurants, and public space. Among James von Klemperer’s most famous skyscrapers is the Lotte World Tower in South Korea, which at 1,821 feet (555 meters) is even taller than One Vanderbilt. The 30 Hudson Yards with the Edge observation deck was also designed by KPF. Not bad, right?

5. Its Top Can Glow Colorfully at Night

I love watching the New York skyline at night. However, besides the iconic Chrysler Building with its very special, white-lit spire fall, there are very few that can shine in different bright colors. One Vanderbilt is one of those few buildings, along with the Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, 30 Hudson Yards with its Edge Observation Deck, the Condé Nast Building, and the Bank of America Tower at Bryant Park, whose tops can glow in different colors.

6. The Restaurant La Pavillon by Daniel Boulud has 20-Meter High Ceilings!

Daniel Boulud is one of the most famous chefs and owners of several high-class restaurants worldwide. He has 10 restaurants in New York (including the World Trade Center Oculus and Lincoln Center).

La Pavillon restaurant is located on the second floor and is beautifully decorated. The ceilings are nearly 20 feet high and will make for an incredible sense of space. Only the Peak restaurant at Edge Hudson Yards compares (though, it has the better view).

7. It was Built by New York’s Largest Real Estate Firm

SL Green Realty is the owner of One Vanderbilt and bills itself as “New York City’s largest owner of office real estate.” It owns over 30 other well-known buildings, such as 100 Park Avenue and One Madison Avenue.

8. How Could the Building Be Built So Tall?

The zoning laws in New York City are strict and determine how high a building can be built. Without tricks, the height was limited to 660 feet. That the One Vanderbilt building was allowed to be built higher was due to two special features. Number 1: SL Green Realty owned a landmarked building, the Bowery Savings Bank, which is only half a block from One Vanderbilt. That allowed air rights to be transferred to other buildings; it was now allowed to be built a full 100 feet higher.

But that wasn’t enough; it benefited from a rezoning on Vanderbilt Avenue by the mayor. This allowed it to extend (i.e., almost double) its planned height above 640 feet.

9. SL Green Realty Supports the MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority)

Many fear the construction will worsen traffic around Grand Central Station. Therefore, there was only a GO for building the Skyscraper if SL Green Realty accepts an agreement for more than $200 million. This money is to be invested in expanding nearby subway stations to manage traffic more intelligently.

10. Grand Central Terminal Sued SL Green Realty for Air Rights

As indicated, air rights are extremely valuable in NYC. Yes, Grand Central Terminal owner Andrew Sue sued SL Green. However, this happened only after they unsuccessfully tried to resell the air rights (probably very, very expensive).

Eventually a settlement was negotiated, and the lawsuit was dropped.

11. Why is One Vanderbilt Located at Grand Central Terminal?

Its location in Midtown-East is really special because it is the first super skyscraper in this part of Midtown. Its height makes it stand out immediately and shapes the new skyline of New York. But why was it built here? On the one hand, Mayor Bill De Blasio wanted to upgrade the area around Grand Central Terminal, and, on the other, there was a great need for office space.

All this led to the approval and construction of One Vanderbilt.

12: One Vanderbilt has only 73 floors

Okay, 73 floors are quite a bit. But compared to One World Trade Center (102), Edge Hudson Yards (104), and the Empire State Building (102), this is significantly less. However, since the floors are higher, it towers over most buildings in NYC.

13. The Construction Company Also Designed the Gateway Arch and Madison Square Garden

Severud Associates was responsible for the design of the structure of the building and was recognized for many well-known buildings. In addition to the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, these include the famous Madison Square Garden and the Bank of America Tower at Bryant Park.

14. One Vanderbilt is Built Sustainably

As with many other building projects, SL Green is committed to sustainability in the construction and operation of One Vanderbilt. Most of the construction material used was made from recycled materials; the cogeneration system produces an incredible 1.2 MW, and up to 50,000 gallons of rainwater is collected and used. One Vanderbilt achieved the highest level of LEED certification, according to ENR.

15. The Facade is Made Almost Entirely of Glass and Terracotta

Although One Vanderbilt is such a tall building, it looks very elegant. The main reason for this is the façade; it is made up of huge glass panels and terracotta, which includes the same distinctive ceiling tiles found throughout Grand Central Terminal. Thus, new and old meet harmoniously.

16: One Vanderbilt NYC is Made Up of Four Towers

If you take a close look at One Vanderbilt, you’ll notice that the skyscraper is actually made up of four towers, stacked slightly offset and twisted on top of each other.

This is really well done and makes it one of the most beautiful skyscrapers in New York City for me.

Steffen Kneist Loving New York

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Want to be notified when tickets for One Vanderbilt become available? Just email me at steffen@loving-newyork.com and I’ll get back to you!

Profilbild Steffen Kneist
About the author

I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 25 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On my blog I show you the best and most beautiful spots of the city, so that you have a really good time! You can also find lots of insider tips in our New York travel guide. Also check out my hotel finder for New York!

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