Standing on glass at a great height
July 9, 2009 4:18 PM   Subscribe


 
No, no, no. A thousand times no.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 4:25 PM on July 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


AAAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!

I shouldn't have clicked.

*Clings desperately to monitor. Refuses to look down*
posted by zarq at 4:25 PM on July 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


OMG.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:25 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


How do you see through all the vomit?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:25 PM on July 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Been there, done that

(sorry for being a snarky Canadian)
posted by Midnight Rambler at 4:27 PM on July 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


How do you see through all the vomit?

I'm guessing that most people will have their eyes scrunched so tightly shut that it won't be a problem.
posted by zarq at 4:27 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Just watching that video gives me the woooops feeling in the pit of my stomach. I've been on the Sears Tower Observation Deck before, but there is no way in hell you could convince me to stand on that glass ledge.
posted by Chrischris at 4:27 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I will not rest until all knowledge of this has been erased from the planet.
posted by DU at 4:29 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


In my heart of hearts, I think I've always known that there are little girls braver than I am. It still hurts to have video evidence.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 4:29 PM on July 9, 2009 [29 favorites]


Go out there and jump up and down. eeeee!
posted by jjj606 at 4:31 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Just think about this: someone had to build that thing.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:32 PM on July 9, 2009


Sphincter squeeze!
posted by ericb at 4:32 PM on July 9, 2009


Why would they do that?
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:35 PM on July 9, 2009


C'mon, if you can walk out over the Grand Canyon, can Sears Tower be that bad?
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 4:36 PM on July 9, 2009


The best is the little girl: "Why are you scared???" Oh, to be young and fearless again.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 4:37 PM on July 9, 2009


See also: Grand Canyon Skywalk: The Glass Bridge. Previous MeFi FPP.
posted by ericb at 4:38 PM on July 9, 2009


Or, what CheeseDigestsAll said!
posted by ericb at 4:38 PM on July 9, 2009


Oh, to be young and fearless not comprehend the brutal power of gravity and the force of your body against a solid object that is 103 floors below you again. Damn you, science, damn you! (Yes, there's probably some fancy engineering that makes the whole thing safe, but it's GLASS! You can see where your body should be!)
posted by filthy light thief at 4:41 PM on July 9, 2009 [8 favorites]


Warning for ericb's link: it resizes your browser and plays a badly looped mp3.
posted by idiopath at 4:41 PM on July 9, 2009


It's comforting to know I am not the only one clinging tightly to a railing near the elevator shaft, heels planted and saying repeatedly, "but I don't wanna do it... but I don't wanna do it..."
posted by hippybear at 4:41 PM on July 9, 2009


I want desperately to go to Chicago to see this, and only this, then fly back to Pittsburgh, and at the same time the pictures are giving me panic attacks.

Is that bad?
posted by Mister Moofoo at 4:42 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Meh. Looks the same as the glass floor in the CN Tower. It freaks you out at first but then you get over it. The cantilevered aspect is neat.
posted by GuyZero at 4:47 PM on July 9, 2009


I took my kids to the Long Island Children's Museum a couple of weeks ago. One of their exhibits is called "ClimbIt@LICM". Between the first and second floors is a long, meandering ramp, surrounded by webbing and platforms. A two story art exhibition that children above a certain height can literally climb into.

As we were leaving the museum, we saw a terrified eight year old girl clinging for dear life to a platform near the top of the structure. She was crying her eyes out. The Museum staff and her parents tried to coax her down and finally sent in another child to lead her out. The fearless one scampered from platform to platform through the netting, as the crying girl stared at her with a stunned look of astonishment. As the second girl reached the first, she said the same thing as the little girl in that vid link: "Why are you scared?"

Silence. Wide eyes. A trembling hand pointed towards the floor.

Fearless girl looked down. "So cool! Look how high up we are!"

The look the other girl gave her was priceless.
posted by zarq at 4:47 PM on July 9, 2009 [9 favorites]


Meep meep!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:51 PM on July 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


There's a neat article in the New York Times about the science behind the Ledge and the use of glass as a structural element.
posted by fermion at 4:54 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hell, now I'm afraid to get up out of my chair. I'll be trapped here for days.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 4:55 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but they still won't let you toss pennies off.
posted by box at 4:55 PM on July 9, 2009


Just from reading the comments in this thread has caused me to break out in a dew of sweat. Also, remember the depression era photos of guys eating lunch on I-beams oh jesus don't google it and post links in here.
posted by DU at 4:55 PM on July 9, 2009


That scene in Ferris Bueller's Day Off would have been terrifying rather than cool if they'd stood on this!
posted by jaffacakerhubarb at 4:58 PM on July 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I got wobbly-legged looking down without a glass floor. This might just kill me.
posted by Askiba at 5:01 PM on July 9, 2009




Go out there and jump up and down. eeeee!


If I was there and the two girls from that link did that (jump up and down) I would be seriously tempted to strangle them.
posted by notreally at 5:03 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


DO NOT WANT
posted by brundlefly at 5:08 PM on July 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I work in a building across the street from the Sears Tower. It is very disconcerting to see photographs of the place where I spend the majority of my waking hours as seen between the sneakers of a twelve year old.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:09 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow. I've never been afraid of heights, but that... DO NOT WANT.
posted by strixus at 5:14 PM on July 9, 2009


Yeah, no.
posted by elfgirl at 5:15 PM on July 9, 2009


Yikes. The glass staircase at the Smithsonian American History museum is enough to freak me out.

Even if you know it's safe there is something very primal about not wanting to step onto a clear, elevated surface.
posted by JoanArkham at 5:18 PM on July 9, 2009


du: that's it!

yesterday i went to visit my insurance (homeowner's) agent. as if that wasn't terrifying enough, she had a poster of that photo on her wall directly across from where i was sitting. i kept looking at it out of the corner of my eye & thinking 'good god! who would take such a picture? and how can they be so blase?'

when i saw this post, i came right inside, no linky-clicky for me. i saw some photos of the glass floor last week, and after looking at that poster yesterday for 30 minutes, i think i'll just pass on the height thing.
posted by msconduct at 5:20 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'd go out there, give a big smile, and do a little tap dance. Just to fuck with people.

Yeah, inside I'd probably be SCREAMING but I can generally hold it together long enough to get it done.
posted by Justinian at 5:21 PM on July 9, 2009


I totally want one of these boxes for the side of my dream home, so I can look out and down and then go inside and quiver in a corner with my arms around my knees, and then get all excited and do it again.

A few times a day.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 5:21 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Pffft. Ya buncha wusses. I'd be jumping all over that thing and laughing at your fear! [/is lying]
posted by jokeefe at 5:21 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I went up in the Sears tower ten years ago and it wasn't that great (I heard the Hancock one was better, but haven't tried it) but now I can't wait to go back.
posted by Stylus Happenstance at 5:24 PM on July 9, 2009


Now, but hot ladies wearing skirts -- think of the possibilities! You just stand on the sidewalk directly under the glass box, 103 floors below, um, with, binoculars or someth-


Wow, I'm a really amateurish perv.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:28 PM on July 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


Am I the only person who is excited by this? If I ever go to Chicago, I'm totally going to that. I LOVE heights.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 5:28 PM on July 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


Heck - it makes the glass floor at the Spinnaker Tower look a bit lame. Same story though: you edge carefully on to it, and then little childen start charging around you, hammering on the glass.
posted by raygirvan at 5:33 PM on July 9, 2009


Hancock is still better.
posted by thirteenkiller at 5:33 PM on July 9, 2009


Don't forget the vastly overhyped and overpriced Grand Canyon Skywalk.
posted by MrVisible at 5:42 PM on July 9, 2009


That's awesome.
Might be a reason to visit the Sears tower now.

Is it glass glass or some Plexiglas type of stuff?
I wonder how often they have to clean it. Seems like it'd get pretty grubby pretty quick.
posted by madajb at 5:42 PM on July 9, 2009


Am I the only person who is excited by this? If I ever go to Chicago, I'm totally going to that. I LOVE heights.

Me and you, seems like. I'd so be with the kids jumping up and down, or better yet, lying down on the floor and peering towards the ground.
posted by Sova at 5:50 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


MaryDellamorte, I am SO with you! I want to get prone with the top of my head against the edge, looking straight down, then pull up a step ladder. Crazy!
posted by njbradburn at 5:55 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


madajb, they're laminating glass with polymers to make beams and other components stronger and safer — each of the Sears Tower sheets is a five-layer sandwich — and analyzing every square inch of a design to make sure the stresses are within precise limits.
posted by everichon at 5:56 PM on July 9, 2009


Word of warning to those coming to Chicago just for this: The Skydeck line today at 1pm (on a Thursday) went to the end of the block. I've never seen that before. And the line for the Skydeck upstairs is worse. And I imagine the line for the terrifying glass box of doom is longer yet.

/hates lines
posted by shakespeherian at 6:01 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Me and you, seems like.

Count me in.
posted by Stylus Happenstance at 6:02 PM on July 9, 2009


Ever want to see a grown man screaming like a little girl and urinating himself like a little girl?

Take me.
posted by Samizdata at 6:03 PM on July 9, 2009


Whoa.
posted by Simon Barclay at 6:10 PM on July 9, 2009


I want to go to there.
</lizlemon>
posted by brownpau at 6:14 PM on July 9, 2009


They will won't see us waving from such great heights. / Come down now, they'll say.
posted by educatedslacker at 6:15 PM on July 9, 2009


Okay, this is absolute insanity, but to be fair to the little girls, if I weight 30 lbs I might go for it too.

Half-inch of glass, though? What the fuck? The shelves in my china cabinet are about that thick.
posted by odinsdream at 6:17 PM on July 9, 2009


I pissed my pants in fear just reading the FPP.
posted by lekvar at 6:19 PM on July 9, 2009


I'm surprised the Tribune article didn't mention the imminent rebranding of the Sears Tower. Still seems like a stupid idea to me... does anyone at Willis really think the new name will fly with Chicagoans or Americans, after decades of renown under a household name? Especially considering that Willis is an overseas company. It seems like an invitation to vaguely patriotic scoffing and stubborn refusal to recognize the new title.
posted by Rhaomi at 6:22 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Will I get kicked out for dressing up like Superman and laying on the floor in a flying pose?
posted by MegoSteve at 6:26 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think the following random YouTube comment sums up my feelings best: "you can kiss my ass. i would never go in that thing."
posted by LeeJay at 6:37 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wonder how often they have to clean it. Seems like it'd get pretty grubby pretty quick.

The ledges actually retract into the building for the window washers. I think they could charge extra to stand on the glass ledge while it's retracting.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:37 PM on July 9, 2009


Simon Barclay: "Whoa."

To be fair, it is the NYT. I mean, just look at how symmetrical the reflection in the building's facade is. I call bullshit. I mean shenanigans!
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:59 PM on July 9, 2009


I want to go to there

and have sex
posted by heathkit at 7:01 PM on July 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Some improv troupe could go stand on the sidewalk all in firemen's uniforms with one of them huge life saving trampolines.

Also, vaguely related: "One and Other" on London's "Fourth Ledge" in Trafalgar Square.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:01 PM on July 9, 2009


Wow, I'd totally go out on that. I stood on the CN tower glass floor a few years ago, it was a weird sensation but very cool.
posted by octothorpe at 7:02 PM on July 9, 2009


We went on July 3rd. It is not as scary as it seems it would be.

The glass floor itself is probably 6 feet wide and 24-30 inches deep.

The glass does not look like regular window glass. Yes, you can still see through it, but there is an opaque quality to it. I am not the bravest person in the world and only hesitated a second or two before taking the step out.

It is funny to see adults hesitate while kids run and jump at the glass. There was one mother whose son kept taunting her by pulling her out and then jumping.

If you want to go but are afraid of heights, go when it is busiest - weekends and holidays. One of our group said she felt more comfortable with four other people out there with her. That seemed to be the feeling throughout the crowd. I think it would be a different story if you were the only one up there and it was an especially windy day.

My only complaint about it is that they do not have the glass enclosures all around the top, just the side that faces N. I think they should have put them over on the lake side as well.

If you are in Chicago, you really should check it out.
posted by Tchad at 7:41 PM on July 9, 2009


Glass floors are the new rotating restaurant.

Well, no, I take that back. Rotating restaurants are stupid for at least three reasons--vertigo, motion sickness, the fact that most cities viewed from above tend to look ugly and boring--all experienced while attempting to eat.

Glass floors at least add some excitement and eschew the nausea, but they're hardly worth the price of admission.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:48 PM on July 9, 2009


Rhaomi: I'm surprised the Tribune article didn't mention the imminent rebranding of the Sears Tower. Still seems like a stupid idea to me... does anyone at Willis really think the new name will fly with Chicagoans or Americans, after decades of renown under a household name? Especially considering that Willis is an overseas company. It seems like an invitation to vaguely patriotic scoffing and stubborn refusal to recognize the new title.

As a Chicagoan myself, I've polled a number of people on this and the consensus is that no one is really attached to the Sears name for the building. People generally it will take a very long time for the new name to catch on, but no one seems to be affronted by the change itself (this is in marked contrast to the rumors last year that Wrigley Field would change its name, which provoked violent and profanity-laden outbursts from pretty much everyone I know).
posted by shakespeherian at 8:03 PM on July 9, 2009


Tchad:
My only complaint about it is that they do not have the glass enclosures all around the top, just the side that faces N.


That's the west side, actually.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:05 PM on July 9, 2009


Thanks, I get turned around sometimes.

I just remembered something we all found strange on the tour:

When you go, there is this movie about the history of tall buildings. Maybe 10-15 minutes. It struck all of us that the twin towers were not mentioned once. I guess I understand not wanting to do it, but everyone in our group commented on it - like they did not exist in the history of the skyscraper.
posted by Tchad at 8:16 PM on July 9, 2009


The CN Tower has added a glass floor to one of their high-speed elevators. It looks like something out of the alien underground base in Forbidden Planet.

However, the Sears Tower glass floor gets bonus points for being directly over other tall buildings.
posted by thecjm at 8:24 PM on July 9, 2009


"Okay Joe, we waited forever in line and you showed me and it's cool, now can we go bowling already? Come on, I want to try my new bowling ball. Here, check it out!"
"Oops!"

Smash.... "Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah..........
.
.
.

(My mind makes me think of things like this to keep me safe.)
posted by eye of newt at 8:31 PM on July 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I wonder how many of the people saying that you'd never get them out on that glass floor have ridden airplanes before? I've always found it weird how selective people's fear of heights can be.
posted by happyroach at 9:17 PM on July 9, 2009


I wonder how many of the people saying that you'd never get them out on that glass floor have ridden airplanes before?

I generally make it a rule to avoid glass-bottom planes, myself.
posted by elfgirl at 9:23 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


It took Wonder Woman years before she'd fly her plane.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:41 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


True, but that wasn't because she was afraid of heights; understandably, Wonder Woman had considerable reservations about "daytime astronomers" with high-powered telephoto lenses. If those photos got out, Princess Diana would be stripped of her crown!
posted by Sys Rq at 9:48 PM on July 9, 2009


When that sucker cracks off and you are plummeting towards certain sidewalk scrambledness, you will have time to ask yourself "remind me why I tempted fate and defied instinct just so I could get a chance to..." SPLAT
posted by jcworth at 10:03 PM on July 9, 2009


Most of my nightmares aren't as scary as that video. Make it go away. Please.
posted by dbiedny at 10:04 PM on July 9, 2009


I so want to record the sound of glass cracking onto an iPhone and stand around there and play it back as people step out.
posted by mazola at 10:07 PM on July 9, 2009 [11 favorites]


No no no no no no NO NO. When this opened, even the RADIO stories about it gave me the uglies. And it's hard to get me on a plane, too. I start having existential freakouts.
posted by sugarfish at 10:18 PM on July 9, 2009


My only complaint about it is that they do not have the glass enclosures all around the top, just the side that faces [West]

That's an inevitable result of the "bundled-tube" configuration. There are basically nine structural elements bound together, but only one of the nine outside the center goes all the way to the top. That is the only Skydeck wall that looks all the way down. The others look down on part of the Sears Tower roof.

the Sears Tower glass floor gets bonus points for being directly over other tall buildings.

Technically, no. That's the glass lobby (with this Calder).

Coincidentally, I once had a cube pretty much directly below the glass deck in the first video. The only real difference is that I was on the 17th floor -- so when I sat on the window ledge, it was almost the same.

I will say that when I was at the CN Tower there were kids ... well, playing hopscotch, I guess you'd have to call it. It was apparently important to land on each pane.
posted by dhartung at 10:36 PM on July 9, 2009


Wow, cool. I've got to go there someday.
posted by homunculus at 10:54 PM on July 9, 2009


I was terrified of heights until I became a firefighter. I had to get over it: I got over my fear of heights at a training session in which they extended the boom of the aerial ladder to its full extent, and we had to go all the way out to the end.

When I heard about this, I got vertigo in the meeting. I was just one of several trainees, most of whom were a few years younger than I was. The hell of it was that I was already an experienced firefighter, but was coming from a department where the biggest ladder we had was a 50-foot ground ladder. Now, that had been bad enough, but the new department had something like one of these. I had a week to think about it: the days went by and I had whole hours where I didn't get sweaty hands thinking about The Climb.

Then it was Wednesday again. Work was done. It was time for training.

A 105-foot truck is impressive as hell when it's set up in a parking lot in the dark of an East Coast winter evening. The department had all the siege lights going: it looked a little bit like a used-car lot with an aerial ladder in the middle. Every single member of the fire company was there. Nobody wanted to miss this. Guys who hadn't run a call in years were there in their mesh-backed caps and unraveling nylon jackets with "Ray" and "Charlie" over the breast. All the active firefighters were geared up in full turnouts: the longtimers in their leather helmets and the new guys in their red plastic helmets. If we passed our probationary period, we'd get yellow helmets. This kind of thing is important when you're a volunteer firefighter in Central Pennsylvania.

It was cold. December in central Pennsylvania gets a dry kind of cold that whistles down through Ohio and upstate New York and goes right through your clothes, and right through your turnouts, especially if you're sweating inside them. I was sweating inside mine. The trees were leafless and skeletal, the temperature not much above freezing: that much I remember. As for training, I don't remember anything up to The Climb. I know they told us things. I know I even did some exercises with ground ladders and pike poles, because there are pictures of me doing them. I don't remember them, though.

Everyone's been on a Ferris wheel at one time or another. That's the nearest analogy I have for what it was like. Only on the aerial, you don't have a bucket to cling to, and you aren't strapped in with friends, and it's a one-way shot out to the end of the ladder. From there an 80-or-90-foot drop straight onto asphalt, if you fall off. Now, the other end of the ladder is attached to the truck, and from the ground, an aerial ladder is an impressive piece of hardware. It squats there hugely, red and white or whatever livery the department's chosen, and the outriggers are all planted on big metal plates that clang down with authority: they look like God herself couldn't move them unless she brought in a serious category 5 and took a running start at it. Every pound of the 8 or 9 tons they weigh is visible. That, you think, is an anchor. The ladder looks amazingly sturdy. The rungs look like they're the diameter of your bicep, and the side rails look high and square, amazingly tough and totally impervious to anything but an asteroid strike.

No problem, your brain says. This will be easy. Hell, how could you not feel secure on that ladder, with your clip-in safety harness (which is a five-point harness attached to a carabiner the size of a moderately large baby), all that weight at the bottom and all that structural steel and aluminum and cabling and such? A deployed truck is practically architecture: it can look more permanent than the surrounding buildings.

So here you are. Everyone's standing around, and a couple of the young guys have gone up and down it like squirrel monkeys. Sooner than you want, it's your turn. So up you go. Easy does it, one foot after the other, you'll get this done with and then get some hot chocolate from the canteen ladies. You get on the platform and start climbing. Ten rungs up, and it's still fun. You're moving well, making nice smooth transitions as you slide the carabiner up the safety cable, you're planting metal-and-rubber clad arches squarely on the rungs, your hands aren't death-gripping the rails, you're just looking up the ladder like they taught you, letting the length and straightness guide your eyes like a gunsight. Ten more rungs. It's starting to get a little anxious, now. You can't help noticing that you're quite some distance in the air. Those rungs are starting to look thinner, and you also can't help noticing that if your foot slips, there's nothing there to stop you from falling pretty hard right on your balls. You wonder what would happen if both legs slipped through the sam STOP THINKING ABOUT THAT, FOCUS.

When did you start deathgripping the rail? Wait, did you stop? You stopped. Okay. Deep breath. Quick glance back to see if anyone notic oh sweet mother of Christ. FREEZE

That eight-ton aerial sure doesn't look all that heavy from up here. You've done physics. You've seen how levers can work. Even though you know it's not going to happen, your brain calmly provides you with a vision of the ladder starting to drop, just an inch or so and then a foot and then a long rush as it heads for the ground with you clinging to it, the aerial slowly coming up off the ground and then the catapulting, lights-out door-slamming long darkness. You can taste bile. This is not a productive, good moment for anyone, and you're not enjoying it much.

It takes a visceral effort to lock your eyes on the five red-painted rungs at the top. They're not nearly as close as you want them to be. One rung at a time. Stop thinking so much, that's not going to help. One rung. Two rung. Red rung, blue rung. Sing a song of six rungs, how the hell does the rest of that song go okay just hum a bit la dee la dah la dah Oh my God I am heartily sorry for having offended you. I am really amazingly heartily sorry. If you let me live I will so go to Church. Oh, God, I hope I don't throw up. Hail Mary, full of grace...

Sooner or later, after some indefinite time, you're at the top. Five red-painted rungs. You have to go all the way to the end. It's a requirement. Everyone's watching. You've never been this high on any kind of ladder in your life. You can see the lights of the small towns miles away from here, Grantham and Mechanicsburg and even Messiah College. Hell, you can see Harrisburg and Carlisle from here. You can also see the awful yawning void underneath you from here, but most of all you can feel how much these goddamned things move in the wind. There's a pretty good wind up here. You're swinging a good five or six feet, all told, as it reacts. You devoutly wish you were smaller.

One rung. Breathe. One rung. Breathe. One rung. Breathe. One rung. Breathebreathebreathe and you have to keep yourself from hyperventilating, because in front of you is that last rung. Beyond that is nothing at all. Your hands are cramping. Your knees, and this is a first for you, are actually shaking. You can't hear anything from the ground. You've stopped seeing anything except that last rung. You haul yourself those last six or eight inches with an effort that seems out of all proportion to the distance. You have to push your hand through the air, with an effort that seems like you're pushing through molasses, just to get it to take the rung. Your body has still barely moved, as if you can manage to reach out and grasp it but not shift your weight. Somehow, you do it. You move your center of gravity a few inches, trying to avoid the terrible feeling that in so doing you are gathering momentum that will carry you right forward over that last rung into a dreadful headlong plummet.

Suddenly, you've done it. An ancient and terrible fear that has lingered inside you since you were a child breaks loose and floats away. You are, for a few moments, the King of the Universe. How could anyone not like this? After a little while, your captain yells at you to get your ass down, already, there are people waiting. So you do. The next day, you're a little bit different. A little taller, maybe. After all, you've been all the way out to the end.
posted by scrump at 1:14 AM on July 10, 2009 [35 favorites]


$15 admission? Pass.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:07 AM on July 10, 2009


Oh, are we posting links to photos of horrifying dizzying heights? Here you go...
You know, I once tried to imagine how much money you would have to pay me to do a job like this. I ran out of zeroes.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 2:41 AM on July 10, 2009


I won't be going up it. I don't trust the engineering to keep me safe.

Nope, I'll be getting in a 300 tonne 747, loaded with almost 200,000 liters of highly flammable jet fuel, and flying off at 550mph somewhere else entirely different this summer.
posted by MuffinMan at 2:42 AM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


The picture with the small kids drawing reminded me of the old Visual Cliff experiments.
posted by rongorongo at 2:48 AM on July 10, 2009


I'm coming late to this thread, but I wanted to say, Shakespeherian, that we may work in the same building. 200 South? It's been odd for me to look down at these pictures and get that same feeling.

And yes, I want to echo the comments about being careful about the line length if you want to check it out. I think every day this week it's been around the corner, longer than I've ever seen it. If they wanted to boost visits to the tower, it sure worked.

Heck, *I* want to go back up there. I find the Sears Tower's skydeck to be far inferior to the Hancock Center, which is where I usually take out of town guests unless they *really* want to go to the Sears, but this is just damn cool.
posted by jammer at 3:13 AM on July 10, 2009


For a more civilized view of the top of chicago go to the lounge at the top of the Hancock tower. Skip past the observation deck elevator that you have to pay for and go for the regular free elevator that will take you to the lounge. Get a nice seat at a table with a view and spend you money on a drink instead and look out at the city knowing that you are not a rube like those who paid to see the same view but didn't get a drink.
posted by srboisvert at 3:24 AM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


jammer:

I'm coming late to this thread, but I wanted to say, Shakespeherian, that we may work in the same building. 200 South?


Hey, that's me! If you're my boss, I've never heard of MetaFilter and I certainly don't spend copious amounts of time on it at work.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:10 AM on July 10, 2009


Enclosed? Bunch of pussies.
posted by i_cola at 5:35 AM on July 10, 2009


I think this would be fun, and I've got a healthy fear of heights. I guess I trust the engineering too much.

The Tokyo Tower glass panel looks pretty puny in comparison.

posted by zardoz at 5:52 AM on July 10, 2009


Those goddamn banks in Charlotte won't even let us normal fucks on the top floors let alone make it really cool.
posted by zzazazz at 7:02 AM on July 10, 2009


Ooooohhh, Pontifex, when I looked at your picture (don'tclickonitdon'tclickonit eeeek!) my scalp rose up and crawled forward a quarter inch, then turned aroudn three times like a dog settling in for a nap. I am on the third floor right now and feeling a little...anxious.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:33 AM on July 10, 2009


I will never call it anything but the Sears Tower.
posted by jock@law at 7:51 AM on July 10, 2009


Now, but hot ladies wearing skirts -- think of the possibilities! You just stand on the sidewalk directly under the glass box, 103 floors below, um, with, binoculars or someth-

When I was in college at SCAD, they put in a glass staircase in the main library and a bench underneath the stairs going from the ground floor to the second floor.

Shortly before or after it opened, can't remember which, the bench was removed and a layer of frosted glass and aluminum treads were added. Evidently once women actually looked at the staircase (the building was closed during the renovation), certain things were pointed out.

Funny how some people say design isn't important.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:53 AM on July 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Beyond that is nothing at all.

Wait. Waitwaitwaitwaitwait. The ladder wasn't extended from the parking lot to a nearby bulding? Not for support but for... sanity? Ack.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:30 AM on July 10, 2009


i_cola: Enclosed? Bunch of pussies.

I gotta say that your 'bunch of pussies enclosed' link did not go to what I assumed it would.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:39 AM on July 10, 2009


I dunno, I've done the CN tower thing, and somehow the idea of a completely-glass room hanging off the side of a building strikes me as being a million times worse.

I mean, with the CN Tower the panels were relatively small (to my brain), and the back of my mind said "hey, if a panel breaks you can just grab the floor, you're still inside the Tower, no biggie. See? There's a strut right there, and the concrete is right over there. Keep your hands dry and you'll have plenty of grip".

...whereas with this thing, my mind keeps saying "you'll see a little crack, maybe hear a tiny ping! sound, then suddenly the whole thing will pop like a bubble. Only with more screaming."
posted by aramaic at 9:14 AM on July 10, 2009


Wait. Waitwaitwaitwaitwait. The ladder wasn't extended from the parking lot to a nearby bulding? Not for support but for... sanity? Ack.
Nope. This was training, y'see, and intended to be as unnerving as possible. A gut check, if you will.

The "tip load" (capacity at the tip of the ladder when fully extended) of this particular truck was something on the order of 750 pounds, so with one person up on the ladder, the risk was much smaller than it sounds. If we'd been sending more than one person up, it would have been braced.
posted by scrump at 9:36 AM on July 10, 2009


A gut check, if you will.

I'm pretty sure that about halfway through my trip up that ladder, I would have quite forcefully expelled my guts so the folks on the ground could take an up-close and personal look at 'em.
posted by zarq at 10:27 AM on July 10, 2009


This entire thread is giving me the screaming heebie-jeebies. Seriously. Like, pit falling in the bottom of my stomach.

Why can't I close the tab and stop reading it???

AAAAAAAGH!
posted by hippybear at 11:27 AM on July 10, 2009


..whereas with this thing, my mind keeps saying "you'll see a little crack, maybe hear a tiny ping! sound, then suddenly the whole thing will pop like a bubble. Only with more screaming."

I'm totally bringing a mp3 player with a sound file of glass cracking and good speakers taped to my ankles. Jump up and down on the glass. Press play. Stand perfectly still with a look of terror on my face.
posted by srboisvert at 12:05 PM on July 10, 2009


That's awesome srboisvert. I'm totally stealing that idea for when I bring my children to the CN tower one. Last time I went it was just me and my niece dancing on the glass with a crowd of adults to scared to even step on it.
posted by saucysault at 8:42 PM on July 10, 2009


I have a pretty serious fear of heights. What's interesting is that I did the CN tower glass floor and initially it was all I could do to step out at first, but after a bit it held no terror for me at all....
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:53 PM on July 10, 2009


When I lived in Chicago I went to the top of the Sears Tower and the Hancock. Was pretty cool. Then again, I was 11 years old and had not yet developed my fear of heights.

If I never step foot into the glass box, my life will still be complete. I'm good with that.
posted by mnb64 at 7:06 PM on July 11, 2009


Huh, maybe now I have a reason to go to Chicago.
posted by Eideteker at 12:59 AM on July 12, 2009


Even if you know it's safe there is something very primal about not wanting to step onto a clear, elevated surface.

When even the 2-story-up clear walkways in the Time-Warner Mall gave me the heebie-jeebies, I remembered one simple thing: I'm Magic, of course I can walk on air.

Granted, I had been drinking.
posted by The Whelk at 5:16 AM on July 12, 2009


I'm still miffed about them not providing any open rooftop access (sans wire mesh or glass is what I mean) or even allow tripods. the hancock tower is just the same. what's the problem with letting photographers take advantage of the spectacular setting? how about opening it up one night per week to them?
posted by krautland at 5:52 AM on July 12, 2009


Oh! Oh! Oh! Why is it on the 3 times I've visited the Hancock tower, the very tops of the windows where covered in elaborate spiderwebs and fairly large, fast moving spiders? That's a lot of spiders to be so far up, what are they doing there/eating/competing for?
posted by The Whelk at 5:55 AM on July 12, 2009


I used to live on the 23rd floor of one of the presidential towers not far from the hancock and asked myself that very same question all the time. there were two layers of windows and spiders loved to scale the building insulated from the outside world all the time. I never figured out what they fed on.
posted by krautland at 8:11 AM on July 12, 2009


Wait, aren't most spiders cannibalistic?


So, the top of Hancock Tower is like the Spider Tower Of Blood and Pain then. Shit.
posted by The Whelk at 8:15 AM on July 12, 2009


That's a lot of spiders to be so far up, what are they doing there/eating/competing for?
You.
posted by scrump at 7:30 AM on July 13, 2009


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