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Thread: American International Building's Observatory

  1. #1

    Default American International Building's Observatory

    "One of the most famous themes of the limestone-clad tower is a mountain with a snow cap. The building features an open air platform with an enclosed glass observatory above it on the 66th Floor, offering the best view of downtown from any building. Unfortunately, this observatory which was once public is now accessible only to executives and employees of AIG. The tower was originally and famously built with double-decker elevators that served two floors at a time to provide sufficient vertical service for the narrow tower and its limited elevator shafts. Soon afterwards, these elevators were removed because of their low popularity; however, the Citigroup Center adopted this same idea in the 1970s."

    Now that Rockefeller Center has reopened their observation deck, I was wondering if there was any drive to get the AIG Building to reopen their's. That building, in all honesty, I like more than I did the Twin Towers, or the Freedom Tower for that matter. For all I know, the owners of the building probably won't want to reopen, and could use the FT being built as an excuse not to have a second Downtown observation deck. But using Rockefeller Center as a precedent, since it's close to the ESB and offers similar views, I think that the people who run AIG could be convince to chage their mind.
    BTW, does anyone have/could find vintage photos of AIG's observation deck?

  2. #2
    Forum Veteran
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    New York City


    From The City Review

    While Top of the Rock had been closed and abandoned, the AIG Building's observatory is, I think, used as an executives' club of some sort. Not to mention that it's very small. I think a better observation deck downtown would have been the one that was once at the top of 1 CMP.

  3. #3

  4. #4


    I love this building.

    and yes it is an executives club. Most of the higher level employees can go up there (by higher level I mean a 6 figure salary might not get you up there)

    A futures trader I worked on NYMEX with told me that back in the early 90s he went up there as an assistant account manager for some CEO, he told me that it was a scene out of 1860 Britain with guys with pocket watches sipping tea and smoking cigars, not sure how much I can believe that but it might very well be true.

    This is one of the few buildings around Wall St. that I've never been in, is this the one with double-decker elevators?

  5. #5


    WHo do I know at AIG? You've piqued my interest. I mostly knewo guys out in Greenwhich...I wonder if I can swing an invite...

  6. #6


    Just walk in the lobby and say you're meeting Mr....ummm....Smith...on the top floor, he's expecting you.

    Realistically you could probably get up there if you said you wanted to shoot a movie or take pictures or something, I'm sure someone would help you for a chance of being in a published media.

  7. #7


    Hey all, new visitor here, but this has always been one of my absolute favorite buildings in NYC and I've always been very curious about what the observatory looked like up there. I found these photos elsewhere on the net. I really wish the one wasnt distorted, but it's in color.
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  8. #8
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Manhattan - South Village


    Awesome. That globe in the center isn't in the old photo.

  9. #9

  10. #10


    Here's a link to a few photos I took from the top of the observation deck of the American International Building Aug 2011

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