New York City Public Observation Deck – One World Trade Center

New York City is the capital of skyscrapers as it sits at the top with the height and the density of buildings in USA. New York City is unique and is the pride of America. To experience the charm and photograph this magic city, a vantage point from those observation decks is my best choice.

The new One World Trade Center

Location: 285 Fulton Street, Manhattan, New York, United States 10007
GPS: 40°42’45.84″N  74° 0’47.05″W
Waiting time to reach the deck: 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Recommendation: 3 stars out of 5.

The terror attack dated back to 2001 cost over 2 thousand lives and destroyed the twin tower of World Trade Center. The new building, called ‘One World Trade Center’, arose from the edge of the old site and was opened to the public in 2014. Designed by David Childs (the designer of Willis Tower in Chicago and Burj Khalifa in Dubai), this tallest building in Western Hemisphere, including its spire, reaches a total height of 1,776 feet. Its height in feet is a deliberate reference to the year when the United States Declaration of Independence was signed. The monolithic glass structure with neat and simple outline give this building a modern look.

One World Trade Center is located at south tip of Manhattan Island overlooking the Atlantic Ocean where the Hudson River and East River merges together.

As the deck was open to the public in December 2014, the facility inside the building is brand new. The security check, identical to the one before boarding an airplane, is the strictest I’ve ever seen compared with numeric observation decks I visited.

The 360 degree unobstructed view brings you excellent visa of Manhattan downtown, midtown, Brooklyn and New Jersey. However, from photography point of view, it is extremely challenging to get decent shots due to indoor environment with excessive glass reflections which becomes even worse with wide-angle. Long focus length does not work well if you are critical with image details. Fortunately nobody discourage the usage of tripod, which makes it possible to capture the beauty of this sleepless city.

Tips to reduce glass reflections:

Move your lens as close as possible to window glass and use your hands coning around the lens to prevent unwanted light getting into the lens. If you are lucky to have friends handy, use them to block the unwanted lights. In post processing, remove reflections whenever necessary.


North view with midtown buildings, Times Square and Empire State Building visible. At night, the best location facing north is unfortunately used as commercial promotion desk. It is not possible to get any shots.


Southwest view with Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Liberty park in New Jersey.

Good view of office buildings at Hudson River waterfront including the Goldman Sachs Building, the highest building in the state of New Jersey.

Hudson River and Manhattan Midtown buildings with Empire State Building and Times Square.


The financial district of Manhattan with office buildings. Wall Street is located below.


Excellent view of three bridges connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan. From left to right: Williamsburg Bridge, Manhattan Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge.

Panoramic view from Sunset to night


For more beautiful cityscape photos of New York City, please check the Full Collection.


Songquan Photography is the author of this article and reserve full rights. You are welcome to repost. Please credit the author.


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