Photograph of Summit One Vanderbilt by Alex Nichol

Summit One Vanderbilt

Day four of our city break to New York started out with a visit to Summit, a three-storey observation deck at the top of One Vanderbilt, a 93-storey skyscraper on the corner of 42nd Street and Vanderbilt Avenue.

The observation deck starts on level 73, and consists of three storeys almost entirely covered (including floors, ceilings and walls) with polished mirror. The resulting infinite effect is quite an experience, a can be a little disorienting at first.

Photograph of the view from Summit One Vanderbilt by Alex Nichol
Fujifilm X-T5 + Fujinon XF23mm f/1.4 R LM WR
Photograph of the inside of Summit One Vanderbilt by Alex Nichol
Fujifilm X-T5 + Fujinon XF23mm f/1.4 R LM WR

When you first arrive, you have to endure the usual airport-style security they have at just about every tourist attraction in the city, but once you're in the elevator, things move much more quickly. It only takes a few seconds to get to the top; so quickly your ears will pop.

Photograph of the Chrysler Building from Summit One Vanderbilt by Alex Nichol
Fujifilm X-T5 + Fujinon XF23mm f/1.4 R LM WR
Photograph of the Chrysler Building from Summit One Vanderbilt by Alex Nichol
Fujifilm X-T5 + Fujinon XF 90mm f2 R LM WR

As New York observation decks go, Summit was probably our least favourite. It definitely ups the ante in terms of novelty, with lots of weird art installations and optical illusions to keep you occupied. But in terms of the overall experience, it lacked the charm and character of some of the other buildings we visited, like the Empire State Building or Top of the Rock.

Photograph of the inside of Summit One Vanderbilt by Alex Nichol
Fujifilm X-T5 + Fujinon XF23mm f/1.4 R LM WR
Photograph of the view from Summit One Vanderbilt by Alex Nichol
Fujifilm X-T5 + Fujinon XF23mm f/1.4 R LM WR

The main reason we decided to do Summit One Vanderbilt is that we're both massive fans of art-deco architecture, and were eager to see the Empire State and the Chrysler Buildings up close.

The Chrysler Building in particular is so diminutive now compared to some of the more modern skyscrapers in Manhattan, that it's difficult to get a good view of it from anywhere else in the city.

Photograph of the view from Summit One Vanderbilt by Alex Nichol
Fujifilm X-T5 + Fujinon XF23mm f/1.4 R LM WR
Photograph of the view from Summit One Vanderbilt by Alex Nichol
Fujifilm X-T5 + Fujinon XF23mm f/1.4 R LM WR

From a photography perspective, Summit is not the best experience. The windows were dirty, smeared with hand and face prints, and the sun glare from all the mirrors played havoc with my polarising filter, which meant that most of my photos were either washed-out or had weird colour casts all over them.

Photograph of the view from Summit One Vanderbilt by Alex Nichol
Fujifilm X-T5 + Fujinon XF23mm f/1.4 R LM WR

These photographs were taken with the Fujifilm X-T5 , the Fujinon XF23mm f/1.4 R LM WR and the incredible Fujinon XF 90mm f2 R LM WR along with my Kase Wolverine Magnetic circular polariser.

Alex Nichol

About the photographer

Alex Nichol is an amateur photographer based in the UK dabbling with landscape, travel and documentary. Alex has shot with pretty much everything, from classic 35mm and medium format film cameras from Zenit, Leica, Hasselblad and Rolleiflex, to digital SLR and mirrorless systems from Leica, Sony, Canon, Panasonic and Olympus. He is currently shooting with the Fujifilm X System.


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