Seeing Chicago From 103 Stories — Standing On Only A Piece Of Glass

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I can’t say I’m a big travel gimmick fan. There’s just too much awesomeness in the world to see to waste time looking at the world’s largest frying pan or meandering around a dinosaur park in the middle of the desert (unless you’re doing it ironically because of Pee-wee’s Big Adventure).

But if I were in a legit city like Chicago, I’d happily spend an afternoon at the city’s newest attraction, the Ledge at Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower). The Ledge is actually four glass boxes protruding 4.3 feet out from the 103rd floor of the building. Allegedly each able to support up to 10,000 pounds (though I’d suggest you let your fat uncle enter on his own), the boxes offer unobstructed views 1,353 feet down through their clear floors.

The NYT describes the experience as, “along with [a feeling of] amazement, an all-too-human unsteadiness . . . [W]hen you stand on the Ledge, the entire urban fabric seems both marvelously permanent and permeated with vulnerabilities, an imposing achievement and a transitory exercise.” Another recent visitor described the experience shortly after stepping out as, “Blllaaghhhhh.”

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