Elevator’s Descent at Trade Center Will Offer a Virtual Aerial View

David W. Dunlap New York Times 

Sky Pods Whisk Riders through Skyline

It just soared.

On huge high-definition screens, 515 years of Lower Manhattan history unfolded in 48 seconds, as if one were rocketing through time in a glass-walled elevator. That was the video posted by The New York Times on April 19, showing the ride up to the observatory at 1 World Trade Center, which opens on May 29.

The new elevators at 1 World Trade Center feature an animation that makes riders feel like they are flying around the buildings of the Financial District. Photo by Reuben Hernandez.

The new elevators at 1 World Trade Center feature an animation that makes riders feel like they are flying around the buildings of the Financial District. Photo by Reuben Hernandez.

In real life, each of the five One World Observatory elevators holds 15 people. Online, however, thousands of people were able to take the ride. It resonated with readers and became a sensation on social media. Almost everyone was astonished by the realism and the fidelity of the presentation, designed for Legends Hospitality by the Hettema Group and Blur Studio.

However, The Times’s astute readers were also quick to quibble. They were particularly upset to find the Brooklyn Bridge rising in the early 1820s, 60 years ahead of schedule.

A spokeswoman for Legends said the company appreciated the popular interest in pinpoint accuracy but believed that most visitors would understand the need for some artistic license when using 35,000 images to portray 2,000 historical milestones across five centuries — in less than a minute.

For the trip down, Legends hopes not to disappoint visitors who have taken in the real view from 1,268 feet. During the descent, the glass-walled cab seems to slip out of 1 World Trade Center entirely and float earthward in a great arc before re-entering the building through windows that slide open to receive it.

The designers worked hard not to conjure images of a jetliner crashing into the tower, going so far as to build a full-scale mock-up of the elevator cab in Blauvelt, N.Y., last summer. “I think we’ve handled it with sensitivity,” said David W. Checketts, the chairman and chief executive of Legends.

Visitors can judge for themselves soon. Meanwhile, what went up on April 19 now comes down.

 

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