With last month’s opening of The Summit at One Vanderbilt in New York City, NYC now has five buildings that cater to view-hungry visitors.
And yet, San Francisco has none! Why is that?
A few years ago, my favorite son rode to the top of One World Trade Center, aka Freedom Tower, and characterized the elevator ride as “a historical unfolding of New York City in video.”
My parents took me when I was a kid to the Empire State Building, where I enjoyed views from the observation deck, and as a dutiful parent, I took my kids to the top as well.
I recently learned that this iconic building enjoys more visitors each year than Yankee Stadium’s annual attendance (3+ million). Hmmm.
Until Salesforce Tower came to be, the Transamerica Pyramid was the tallest building in San Francisco. Neither has an observation deck even though San Francisco receives more than 26 million visitors a year (overnight visitors spent $7+ billion) versus New York City’s 65+ million visitors who spend $40+ billion. However, it may be some consolation that one can engage in virtual views from the lobby of the Pyramid.
The planned Parcel F building at 550 Howard (which will contain offices, condos, and 5-Star hotel – “mixed use” – reminiscent of London’s Shard) will be San Francisco’s third tallest building when finished. At this time, we understand that there will be no “observation deck type experiences” planned.
The Empire State Building was constructed more than 75 years ago; and as buildings have become taller, observation decks have become more than a place to enjoy views. They have also become places for video experiences, eating/ drinking, and souvenir buying. With millions of visitors willing to pay $25 to $100+ for the privilege of riding to the top, there is potential for serious money. Hmmm.
People don’t travel to the top of the Empire State Building just for the views. They want to be part of the structure, to know it, sense its height from its innards, feel it with their feet!