From the moment we entered the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, we sensed our experience would be deeply meaningful.
And so it was. We knew we were fortunate to have our Big Apple Greeter benefit at such an illustrious venue, but fortune turned to awe as we got on the elevator.
In 47 seconds, we were whisked to the 102nd floor, while the three elevator walls morphed into videos showing New York first as farmland in the 1500s, all the way up to today’s skyscraper-filled metropolis. This was technology at its most magical and futuristic.
Just as magical were the views from the 102nd floor. Floor-to-ceiling windows surrounded the entire space. On a clear day you can see forever: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Staten Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.
More exhilarating technology awaited us on the 100th floor at the City Pulse Stations: circular sculptures with videos of what to do and see in New York and pictures of New Yorkers themselves, with all their energy, excitement and diversity.
Also on the 100th floor, guests were meeting and eating. The young waiters couldn’t have been more gracious (as was everyone who worked there) or the food more luscious. We threw our diets to the winds as we feasted on delicacies like lobster and brie in smoked apricot jam and scallops in pancetta dust with roasted pears.
As satisfied as our stomachs were, the evening’s speakers melted our hearts. Executive Director Alicia Pierro and Board Member John Ruzich spoke about how wonderful it is that Big Apple Greeter visitors get to see New York through the eyes of a New Yorker. John and Alicia thanked David W. Checketts, CEO of Legends Hospitality. Legends developed and operates One World Observatory and they donated the space for our Big Apple Greeter benefit.
John Urban, VP and General Manager of One World Observatory said, “We are the comeback piece of the story. We are the fist bump, the optimism of the future. We can’t wait to welcome the world on May 29th.”
The building’s unlikely combination of technology and humanity was a wonder to behold – and an appropriate tribute to the city’s invincible spirit.