Your mind is still trying to process the video history lesson that somehow manages to squeeze 515 years into 48 seconds.
Then the elevator doors open to the new World Trade Centre observation deck, and your eyes soak in something they weren’t quite expecting: darkness, a quiet darkness, as if you’ve ascended into outer space.
When your eyes finally focus, you are moved into another room to see a row of display panels showing three-dimensional bird’s-eye video scenes of the mighty metropolis.
The panels then lift to reveal New York City as it stands right now, in all its bustling beauty.
Visitors to the new observation deck will be treated to breathtaking views of old and new from a perch and perspective that haven’t existed for nearly 15 years since the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.
While the vista is similar to the one that existed atop the Twin Towers, the new perch is a recognition of how much has changed since 9/11.
“This is a reminder of moving forward,” David Checketts, the CEO of Legends, which operates the $86 million observatory atop the 104-story Freedom Tower, remarked.
“The World Trade Center got knocked down and we built it back up.”
The observation deck opens for business to the general public May 29. What you’ll get is a splendid panoramic look at the city.
The four directions are marked on the black terrazzo floor. The walls are bare and all is painted white to ensure the view is the focus.
On the main, 100th level, two huge 12-foot circles called City Pulse are manned by interactive concierges.
“It’s a rebirth; it means that — particularly for downtown — we’re back 100 per cent,” according to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who got a sneak peak Wednesday.
“This building had to be done in a very particular way, and it’s safe and it’s secure and it’s absolutely beautiful.”
The three-level complex has 360-degree views that stretch from Westchester and Rockland counties to New Jersey, Brooklyn and Long Island and, of course, New York Harbour.