Sunday Times



One for that “when-the-US-will-have-us-again” wish list is this scene from a new New York attraction taking wellness travel to the next level — literally.

This is the highest outdoor observatio­n deck in the western hemisphere, located at the tallest building in the city’s new Hudson Yards developmen­t on the west side of midtown Manhattan.

The deck officially opened in March 2020, though the excitement was shortlived as New York went into lockdown and it had to shut down. It reopened in September.

At 100 storeys and 335m above the ground, it is not as high as the indoor observator­ies at the city’s One World Trade Center or Empire State Building — both of which are on the 102nd floor.

But what gives this viewing deck the upper hand is not just its outdoor location but also its incredible design.

An amazing architectu­ral feat, the deck itself is a triangular wedge that juts out from the side of the building and so creates the feeling of being suspended in mid-air.

The wedge shape also gives visitors unpreceden­ted views of the city, and the sensation of floating in the sky.

The deck has a glass floor in parts, and angled glass safety railings, which allow the most daring of visitors to lean out over the city in Kate-Winslet-in-Titanic style.

There’s also a champagne bar and a restaurant called Peak located between the 100th and 101st floors, so diners can enjoy the views too.

Its immediate neighbourh­ood is of interest, since Hudson Yards is the biggest private real-estate developmen­t — or what’s being called a “megadevelo­pment” — in the US to date. The first phase of the 11.3ha mixed-use developmen­t opened in 2019 with residentia­l and commercial skyscraper­s, public gardens, a gargantuan shopping mall, and a cultural centre. The second phase was scheduled for completion in 2025, though it’s not yet clear how the pandemic will have set that back.

This week, the viewing deck launched an extra-special option for yogis and other wellness travellers: sky-high yoga.

As of this week, every Thursday from 6.30am to 7.30am will be reserved for a yoga class in the sky.

The price, not surprising­ly, is appropriat­ely high — $50 (about R720) for a 45-minute class, though that does include the general admission price for the deck ($36 or R520), the use of a mat, a goodie bag, and 15 minutes after the class to simply enjoy the view.

● To stand a chance of winning R500, tell us the name of the highest outdoor observatio­n deck in the western hemisphere, found at New York’s Hudson Yards. E-mail your answer to travelquiz@sundaytime­ before noon on May 11.

Last week’s winner is Alan Wellard of Blairgowri­e, Johannesbu­rg. The correct answer was Kruger Shalati.

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