Photo: SKYLIGHT by Edge

You Can See the Northern Lights in New York City This Month. Here’s How.

New York Art + Architecture
by Johnny Motley Mar 8, 2022

From now until the end of March, you can marvel at the northern lights atop a skyscraper in New York City.

Edge, a 1,131-foot high observation deck in Hudson Yards, just launched SKYLIGHT, a laser show simulating the northern lights. In lieu of the Arctic, the psychedelic, floating colors of SKYLIGHT morph against panoramic views of Manhattan. This special event ends with the month of March, and Edge is the only place in New York City to see this simulation of one of nature’s most dramatic spectacles — and with a glass of champagne in hand, no less.

Simulated northern lights atop a skyscraper in Hudson Yards in NYC. The vent runs until the end of march and is called SKYLIGHT.

Photo: SKYLIGHT by Edge

From the street, Edge resembles a ship’s prow jutting out from the side of 30 Hudson Yards, one of the tallest towers in Western Manhattan. Visitors queue up for the high-speed elevator to Edge on the fourth floor, past a panoply of upscale shops and restaurants at the tower’s base levels. The ascent to the 100th floor takes less than one minute, during which time LED panels in the elevator beautifully animate the history of New York City’s skyline.

While waiting for the 7 PM starting time of SKYLIGHT, I spent an hour taking in the views from Edge’s outdoor observation deck, including a harrowing few seconds standing on the deck’s glass floor, peering into the 1,000-foot void directly beneath my feet. The outdoor deck wraps around several sides of the tower, offering views of Midtown, the Hudson River, and Lower Manhattan. At such a high altitude, iconic landmarks like the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, and the neon-red New Yorker sign seem almost close enough to touch. The air was perfectly clear on the night I visited, with the twinkling lights of the city as expansive in all directions as the stars of a galaxy.

Simulated northern lights atop a skyscraper in Hudson Yards in NYC. The vent runs until the end of march and is called SKYLIGHT.

Photo: SKYLIGHT by Edge

I couldn’t help but indulge in a beverage to accompany the insane views and the soon-to-start light show, and Edge’s bar offered champagne (about $20 per glass), craft beers from various New York City breweries, and glow-in-the-dark cocktails in honor of Skylight. With a glass of bubbly in hand, I warmed up for a bit in the indoor observation deck, the section of Edge with direct views of the Hudson River.

bright cocktails being served at the SKYLIGHT event in NYC

Photo: Johnny Motley

Around 7 PM, pulsing beats of deep house music signaled that it was time to return to the outdoor deck for SKYLIGHT. As music oozed through outdoor speakers, ghost-like patterns of color rose through the cold air — the pink, green, and blue hues intensified by the haze of hidden fog machines. Walls of ethereal green light shot across the width of the deck and then dissolved back into nothingness. Whenever I looked up, evanescent ceilings of colorful swirls — glowing purples, magentas, and oranges — expanded and contracted. The black silhouettes of those around me remained shrouded in ever-changing colorful curtains. SKYLIGHT, combined with the more distant lights of Manhattan’s towers, was so mesmerizing that I lost track of time, only departing around 10 PM when I realized my hands were freezing.

Before you go to SKYLIGHT at Edge

Tickets to Edge are $36 for New York City residents, $38 for everyone else if purchased online, or $40 if purchased on site. The observation deck is open from 10 AM to 10 PM every day of the week, but we recommend going right before sunset (the time is posted each day on Edge’s website) and staying at least a few hours to fully appreciate the views, sip a beverage or two, and soak in the celestial splendor of SKYLIGHT.

SKYLIGHT (7 to 10 PM) ends in about three weeks and will take place indoors, but in the meantime, there is no extra charge to watch the show with your purchase of regular Edge tickets.

Simulated northern lights atop a skyscraper in Hudson Yards in NYC. The vent runs until the end of march and is called SKYLIGHT.

Photo: SKYLIGHT by Edge

Be sure to check the weather before visiting Edge. While Edge stays open in light rain and snow, the outdoor section does close in severely inclement weather. That being said, clear skies do allow for much better views. The temperature is colder at the higher altitude, so dress warmly. When I visited in early March, I regretted not bringing a thick jacket and pair of gloves.

For the ultimate dinner with a view, make a reservation at Peak, a gourmet restaurant at Edge helmed by celebrated chef Chris Cryer. Mercado Little Spain, a Spanish-themed food hall replete with bars, restaurants, and grocers, is on the ground level of 30 Hudson Yards (100 stories below Edge).

Lastly, you won’t want to miss out on the countless opportunities for superlatively Instragammable photos and videos, so fully charge your phone or camera before you go to Edge.

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