The newly opened observation deck at the top of NYC's One World Trade Center offers one hell of a view

The view from below: One World Trade Center. Image: Getty.

It's a Friday afternoon, we're all about ready to wind down for the weekend, so let's kick back, relax and look at some pretty pictures of New York City.

Today, the observation deck which tops off New York's One world Trade Center opens to the public. The building occupies the site where the Twin Towers stood until 9/11, and like the taller of its predecessors, stands 1,368 feet tall. Throw in a broadcast mast/faintly gratuitous spire*, though, and that figure rises to 1776 feet, to represent the date of the Declaration of Independence, and the building has become known, inevitably, as the Freedom Tower.

The observation deck, which occupies the 100th, 101st and 102nd floors and highest floor, is not quite the highest such tourist attraction in the world: that honour goes to the one in Dubai's Burj Khalifa, which is on the 148th floor. But it’s pretty high nonetheless, and New York is prettier than Dubai anyway, so here are some pictures.

This one shows the sun rising over Manhattan and Brooklyn this morning:

Here are some of the buildings to the north in the dusk:

Here's the reflection of the early morning light on the Hudson River:

This is the view to the south east. That's Brooklyn, with the Atlantic Ocean beyond it:

The Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges across the East River:

Someone mopping the floor, as the sun rises over Long Island.

As a bonus, and because we love you, here's time lapse video showing the tower's construction between 2004 and 2013. It's the work EarthCam, who describe themselves as "Webcam Technology Experts". So there you go.

Images: Spencer Platt/Getty.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article originally placed the observation deck, incorrectly, on the 104th floor. It also failed to identify the purpose of the mast. We thank anonymous hero "Z100Brody" for the corrections, and for the tone in which he communicated them.


Tatton MP Esther McVey thinks Leeds is south of Birmingham for some reason

Great hair, though: Esther McVey. Image: Getty.

Earlier this morning, while everyone was focused on the implosion of the Labour party, former work and pensions secretary Esther McVey decided it was the perfect moment to promote her campaign against High Speed 2.

A quick reminder of the route of the proposed high speed rail link. Phase One will run from London to Birmingham. Should Phase Two ever go ahead, it will split just beyond Birmingham to create a y-shaped network, with one arm running to Manchester and the other to Leeds.

The map McVey tweeted this morning suggests that she doesn't know this. But that is, at worst, the seventh worst thing about the map, because, look:

Let’s look at that a big more closely:

Yep. How many things are wrong with it? Let’s count.

1) Manchester is not east of Leeds;

2) Leeds is not south of Birmingham;

3) Both Manchester and Leeds are further from London than Birmingham, rather than, as this map suggests, closer;

4) To get from London to Manchester you kind of have to pass Birmingham, Esther;

5) There is no railway line that runs from London to Leeds to Birmingham because that would be a really stupid way round, what with Leeds being quite a long way north of Birmingham;

6) Should the government decide to boost the north by scrapping Hs2 and improving east-west lines instead, those improved east-west lines will not cross the proposed route of HS2 Phase One because they are quite a long way to the north of it.

Okay I'm going to stop there and get back to staring at the flaming bin fire that we loving call the Labour party. But for the record, Esther: I'm not taking advice on transport policy from anyone who doesn't know where Leeds is.

Jonn Elledge is editor of CityMetric and the assistant editor of the New Statesman. He is on Twitter as @jonnelledge and on Facebook as JonnElledgeWrites.

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