Newly-built One Vanderbilt skyscraper in New York City evacuated after intense shaking
03/22/2023 // Arsenio Toledo // Views

People in the 93-floor skyscraper One Vanderbilt in Manhattan panicked and fled after the entire building shook following an elevator malfunction.

One Vanderbilt, one of New York City's newest skyscrapers, is a $3.31-billion tower sitting just north of Grand Central Station in Midtown Manhattan. The recently opened building was undergoing maintenance on the afternoon of Tuesday, March 21, when the incident occurred. (Related: Crime City: New York City records highest number of felony crimes in 16 years.)

The incident sent the building's personnel scrambling onto Madison Avenue.

"Working at #OneVanderbilt today and it felt like the floor dropped five feet and continued to bounce," wrote one office worker on Twitter after the incident. "Evacuated to Madison Avenue and multiple floors are reporting this. Thirteenth, 33rd and 60th [floors]. So far, they say they are investigating and there is 'no cause for concern.' It is very scary."

"Felt on the 14th, 51st and 60th floors," said one other person who said the "huge shake" ran through the building. "What was it? Felt like a huge sine wave running through the building. Does anyone else feel it?"

One Vanderbilt is billed as one of Manhattan's newest luxury skyscrapers, featuring a three-floor summit observation deck spread across the building's upper floors. The building has become very popular with tourists willing to pay the general admission fee of $39, or $59 for those who want to experience a glass elevator ride.

The main attraction is at the top of the tower, called Summit One Vanderbilt, which features an outdoor terrace more than 1,200 feet in the air, accessible by clear glass elevators that climb 364 feet up the side of the building.


Each elevator, known as an "Ascent," is 90 square feet, making it the largest glass-floor elevator in the world. Tourists who brave this ride get incredible views of Manhattan and its surrounding areas, including Brooklyn and New Jersey.

The tourist site opened in October 2021, and has welcomed 1.4 million visitors in its first year.

Elevator malfunction caused rippling shaking effect in building

A spokesman for One Vanderbilt said the shaking effect was caused by repair work on the elevators, and no injuries were reported following the incident.

"Earlier today, an exterior elevator at SUMMIT One Vanderbilt malfunctioned while mechanics were performing maintenance on it, causing a vibration to be felt in the building," said the spokesman. "SUMMIT was closed to the public at the time, no one was injured and there is no danger to the building or its occupants."

The New York City Department of Buildings noted that the elevator that malfunctioned was one of the outdoor glass elevators used by tourists to get up to the outdoor terrace. A mechanical problem caused the elevator to malfunction, leading to the rippling shaking effect.

The elevator will need to undergo even more extensive repairs, but a One Vanderbilt official noted that there were no major issues with it.

The New York City Fire Department said it received a report of at least one stuck elevator in the building, but building personnel resolved the issue without incident.

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