16 Curious Facts About One Vanderbilt in New York: You Will Be Surprised

2:49 pm  |  22.08.2021

One Vanderbilt. There is a new landmark of New York, which significantly shapes the skyline of New York. Not only does it have New York’s new observation deck on floors 72 + 73, but it also holds several other records.


Here you will find curious facts about the One Vanderbilt at the Grand Central Terminal, which was opened for companies and residents in 2020. Its platform awaits the first visitors from October 2021.

1. It is the Tallest Office Building in New York

The One Vanderbilt is the fourth tallest building in New York City at a height of 427 meters and towers over the nearby Chrysler Building by more than 120 meters. The tallest building is the One World Trade Center (541 meters) in front of the Central Park Tower (472 meters) and the Steinway Tower (435 meters).

2. It has a SUMMIT One Vanderbilt Observation Deck

The viewing platform of the One Vanderbilt named SUMMIT is unique in New York for several reasons: like the Skydeck in Chicago, it has glass boxes called levitation that protrude from the building and from which you can look straight down. Only The Edge Hudson Yards offers a similar view.

In addition, the location is perfect for seeing all the major buildings and attractions: from Central Park, the Chrysler Building to the Empire State Building, Hudson Yards, and the Lower Manhattan skyline.

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3. The SUMMIT One Vanderbilt Has the Largest Glass Elevators in the World

The glass elevators called Ascent can be taken up another 120 feet from the terrace and top the already sensational view again. You are then 369 meters above 42nd Street. They can carry a total of 4.5 tons – that’s the weight of three yellow cabs.

4. The Architectural Firm also Designed Edge Hudson Yards

James von Klemperer

James von Klemperer of the Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) architecture firm was the lead architect of One Vanderbilt. KPF is active worldwide and is popular for planning particularly tall buildings with a balanced mix of offices, restaurants, and public spaces.

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One of James von Klemperer’s most famous skyscrapers is the Lotte World Tower in Singapore, which at 1,821 feet (555 meters) is significantly higher than the One Vanderbilt.

5. Its Tip Can Glow in Color at Night

We love watching the New York skyline at night. In addition to the iconic Chrysler Building with its very special white-shining tip, there are only a few that can shine in different bright colors.


The One Vanderbilt is next to the Empire State Building, the One World Trade Center, 30 Hudson Yards with the Edge Observation Deck, Four Times Square, and the Bank of America Tower at Bryant Park one of the few buildings whose tips can shine in different colors.

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6. The Le Pavillon by Daniel Boulud Restaurant Has 20 Meter High Ceilings

The Le Pavillon

Daniel Boulud is one of the most famous chefs and owner of several high-class restaurants worldwide. In New York, he opened 10 restaurants (including the World Trade Center Oculus and the Lincoln Center).

The Le Pavillon restaurant is located on the second floor. It’s very beautiful. The ceilings are almost 20 meters high and will create an incredible feeling of space. Only the Peak restaurant in Edge Hudson Yards is comparable (which, however, has the better view).

7. It was built by New York’s largest real estate company

SL Green Realty is the owner of One Vanderbilt and describes itself as “New York City’s largest owner of office real estate”. It owns over 30 other well-known buildings such as 100 Park Avenue and One Madison Avenue.

8. How the Building Became so high

The building law in New York City is strict. Without any tricks, the height was limited to 660 feet. The fact that the One Vanderbilt building could be built higher was due to two peculiarities. Number 1: SL Green Realty owned a listed building, Bowery Savings Bank, which is only half a block from One Vanderbilt. This allows the transfer of air rights to other buildings – it could now be built a full 100 feet higher.

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But that wasn’t enough: it benefited from a rezoning on Vanderbilt Avenue by the mayor. This enabled it to expand (almost double) the planned height over 640 feet.

9. SL Green Realty Supports the MTA

Many fear that the construction will worsen traffic around Grand Central Station. So there was only one GO for building the skyscraper if SL Green Realty agreed to an agreement for more than $ 200 million. This money is to be invested in expanding the nearby subway stations and thus controlling the traffic more intelligently.

10. Grand Central Terminal Sued SL Green Realty Over Air Rights

As indicated, aviation rights are extremely valuable in NYC. Yes, Grand Central Terminal owner Andrew Sue sued SL Green. But only after they had tried unsuccessfully to resell the Luftrecht (probably very, very expensive).

In the end, a settlement was agreed and the lawsuit was dropped.

11. Why is the One Vanderbilt Located at the Grand Central Terminal


The location in Midtown-East is really special because it is the first super skyscraper in this part of Midtown. Due to its height, it is immediately noticeable and characterizes the new skyline of New York. But why was it built here? On the one hand, Mayor Bill De Blasio wanted to upgrade the area around the Grand Central Terminal and there was also a great need for office space.

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All of this led to the approval and construction of One Vanderbilt.

12. The One Vanderbilt Has Just 73 Floors

Ok, 73 floors are quite a lot. But compared to the One World Trade Center (102), Edge Hudson Yards (104), and the Empire State Building (102) significantly less. However, because the floors are higher, it towers above most of the buildings in NYC.

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13. The Construction Company Designed the Gateway Arch & Madison Square Garden

Severud Associates was responsible for planning the construction and is known for many well-known structures. In addition to the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, these include the famous Madison Square Garden and the Bank of America Tower at Bryant Park.

14. One Vanderbilt is Built Sustainably

As with many other construction projects, SL Green relies on sustainability in the construction and operation of the One Vanderbilt. Most of the building materials used consist of recycled materials, the combined heat and power plant produces an incredible 1.2 MW and up to 50,000 gallons of rainwater (almost 230 cubic meters!) Are collected and used. This is one of the reasons why the One Vanderbilt achieved the highest level of LEED certification according to ENR.

15. The Facade Consists Almost Entirely of Glass and Terracotta

Although the One Vanderbilt is such a tall building, it looks very elegant and filigree. 

The main reason for this is the facade: it’s made up of huge glass panels and terracotta that contains the same distinctive ceiling panels that can be found throughout Grand Central Terminal. So new and old come together harmoniously.

16. The One Vanderbilt NYC Consists of 4 Towers

If you take a closer look at the One Vanderbilt, you will find that the skyscraper actually consists of four towers, which are stacked one on top of the other, slightly offset and twisted. That worked really well and makes it one of the most beautiful skyscrapers in New York City for me.

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