'CBS This Morning' Broadcast From One World Trade Center's Observatory & Here's What The Incredible Journey There Looks Like — PHOTOS
Long before One World Trade Center was completed, it had been one of New York City's most iconic buildings, symbolizing the city's resilience after the 9/11 attacks. But perhaps the most impressive part of the building, which is the tallest skyscraper in the Western hemisphere, is its observation deck that occupies three of the top floors. The world caught a glimpse of its stunning views on Wednesday when CBS This Morning broadcast from the One World Observatory. Judging by the breathtaking panoramic views behind hosts Charlie Rose, Gayle King, and Norah O'Donnell, visitors are in for something incredible when the observatory opens on May 29.
Normally broadcast out of Studio 57 at the CBS Broadcast Center, morning news program CBS This Morning set up shop on the 102nd floor of One World Trade Center on Wednesday morning. Host Charlie Rose opened the program with an inspirational line:
Nearly 14 years after September 11, a towering symbol of freedom is about to open to the world.
Naturally, much of the episode was dedicated to both the building and its home city, with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio as one of the special guests. When Rose asked De Blasio what One World Trade Center, also dubbed the Freedom Tower, means for New York, the mayor said, "It's a rebirth."
Later on, the episode highlighted the observatory's unique virtual reality elevators that give riders a time-lapse history of New York City, making the ride to the top an integral part of the experience. During the 47-second ride in one of the five elevators, visitors are treated to 3D-like images of how the skyline was developed, starting from the 1500s. Near the end of the ride, a haunting image of the Twin Towers dissolves before your eyes as a representation of the 9/11 attacks.
While describing the One World Observatory and its visionary elevators gives you some sense of the experience, a much more effective presentation would be to show you exactly what it's like to ascend to the top of One World Trade Center.
It starts out with the year 1500, when Manhattan was nothing but nature:
This was around the time New York started being colonized:
Then came the Industrial Revolution:
This was around the time the Twin Towers were completed:
This was post-9/11, when the new One World Trade Center started being built:
This is the 360-degree view from the top of the new One World Trade Center:
Though the observatory takes up floors 100 through 102, the building is actually 104 stories, with floors 103 and 104 being mechanical floors inaccessible to the public. However, if you're curious to see what the view is like from the very tippy top, here is TIME's panoramic view from floor 104: