I don't usually get frustrated when I explore, but with the amount of bad luck and failed attempts at this building, I was pretty pissed off. Since the day of opening, Tommy D and I had been gunning for this 1,010 foot beauty of a building. Not really a beauty from the perspective that the architecture was nice, but more so it was going to have a beautiful view of Hudson Yards and the surrounding city.
Our first attempt actually landed on the day that they opened the buildings gym, spa, and pool. We had been poking around the Hudson Yards complex trying other buildings when we noticed they had opened the buildings gym. Tom and I didn't hesitate to head on in and see if we could sweet talk our way past the front desk and into the stairs. Surprisingly, we failed miserably. Hudson Yards was on it...
A few weeks later we read that they would be opening the hotel, and we decided this required a return visit. Getting in was no issue, but there was no stair access in the ground floor lobby so we had to take the elevator. It brought us up to a restaurant that wasn't open to public yet, and we had to convince the worker greeting us that we had confused it for the restaurant at 20 Hudson Yards. Bummed, we got back in the elevator and went up one floor. This brought on even more issues, as we had reached the hotel lobby, but only invited guests had been given access to rooms... We were not on that list, so back to the elevator we went. With one more floor to try, we got back in the elevator. To our surprise, there was already a lady in the elevator and she to was going up. This was a problem. As soon as the doors shut, she began to press about what we were doing and who we were. If you know Tommy D and I, we can hold our own when it comes to making up bullshit stories. Tom told her he had lost his keys and that we had been trying each floor to see if anyone knew where they may have been brought. The woman was confused as to how Tom could have lost the keys in a hotel that wasn't fully opened, but she made a call for us anyway. When she got off the phone she told us that nobody had seen the keys and asked us to leave.
With our hopes crushed, we returned to the elevator a final time and left the building.
That same night, we decided that we couldn't give up, and that our luck had been far too bad for us to fail again. The next day we went out for redemption. Having noted the best floor to access stairs, we pressed the highest floor, where we had encountered the lady previously. Sure enough, as soon as the doors of the elevator opened, we were greeted by the very same woman from the day before. I would have used her name in this story, but I think my brain has blocked it out of my memory as she completely ripped into us for a second day in a row. This time, she really wasn't buying the lost keys story. A bit more hostile than the day before, she quickly ushered us back into the elevator and out the front door. Game over, we had to let this place cool down.
A few weeks later, Tom and I hosted a few friends in our Bronx apartment. One was in from Spain, and the other Canada. Both have become good friends of ours through exploring and just hanging out, so we decided that they should end their trip with a bang. Tom, Atlashot, Sxifty, and I decided to give 35 Hudson Yards our best attempt. This time, we approached it differently. Wearing decent clothing (sweat covered polo/dress shirts) from our previous explores, we thought that going to the bar might be our best bet. Sure enough, we got lucky and the hostess sat us down, despite the fact that only Tom and Atlashot were old enough to legally buy a beer. We each got the cheapest beer on the menu (which was still 6 fucking dollars) and chilled out. As we sat at our table, we were scanning around us, looking for a stair entry. We also noticed that most of the employees were looking over at the under dressed crew of youngsters. As usual, we didn't fit in at the expensive bar. I decided to have a look at the bathroom situation, and on my way I noticed that in the same hallway as the bathroom, there was a stair access. Perfect.
After finishing our drinks, we hit the bathroom two at a time. Tom and Sxifty first, Atlashot and I coming up second. As we walked towards the bathroom, we caught a perfect break and scurried through the exit door as fast as possible. Tom and Sxifty wrapped up in the bathroom and joined us soon after.
Thinking that the hard part was over, we relaxed and began the brutal walk up the stairs. As we went, we talked rather loudly, not thinking that anyone else was in the stairs. That was, of course, until we nearly walked right over a worker sitting on his phone in the stairwell. He was as startled as we were, and without hesitation we continued by him, slipping in a few words about our mission to burn off the calories from the drinks we had at the bar. It worked, and the guy went back to his phone. Three floors later we ran into another worker taking a break in the stairwell, but this time we knew exactly what to do and he barely even looked up at us. Smiling and joking with each other, we pressed on, until we reached the final floor, 94. The roof door was open, as the buildings top floors and roof were still being worked on.
In our excitement we flew up the stairs and ladders to the towards the edge of the building. It had quite high walls, so we had to monkey around a bit to finally see over the edge. It was all worth it, we were treated with a lovely sunset. The view was far more interesting than any of us could have imagined. For the first few minutes we barely spoke, each of us was spread out along the edge of the roof taking as many pictures as we could before the daylight escaped us. That is, until Sxifty yelled over that we had been spotted. Sure enough, just five minutes into our photo taking we were already seen. Two workers on an unfinished floor of 30 Hudson Yards were staring out the window and pointing at the four of us. Bummed, and feeling cheated, we knew that staying on the roof was not an option. As we went down the stairs we debated whether to stay and see what happened, or head out and play it safe. The four of us were stubborn, and really wanted to get more photographs on the roof. So, we posted up on the pent house floor, shooting off the balconies and enjoying the end of blue hour.
Once it was dark, we were sure that even if someone had come to check, they would be gone. The stairs were clear, and we went back up to top level of the roof and unpacked our tripods. For the next hour or so we all circled the entire roof taking hundreds of photographs and enjoying ourselves immensely.
While we were shooting, Sxifty hit me with a quite hilarious and bold idea. He wanted me to take a photograph of him butt naked on the edge of the roof. Hearing the excitement in his voice, and being the only one nearby, I agreed to help him out. Soon enough, I watched him navigate across the beams in just his underwear, look back at me for a thumbs up, and drop his briefs. The resulting photographs are nothing short of hilarious. As you'll see, we had two full moons that night. Welcome to the thousand foot club Sxifty!
The rest of the night was really calm. We shot for hours on end, and eventually decided that we were satisfied. Tossing our gear away, we finally set off back down the 94 flights of stairs. Getting out had far less interactions with workers, and we made it to the ground floor flawlessly. One of the most memorable nights I've had in New York City, with some of the best friends I could ask for.
Thanks to Tom, Sxifty, and Atlas, you all really pushed me for this one!