NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- There's a new bird's eye view of New York City.
The One World Trade Center observatory officially opened to the public Friday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Hundreds lined along West Street to be among the first paying visitors to the observatory.
"I've been to New York several times now and I've watched the construction of this new building in the times I've visited," said Rob Fenton of England, who was the first in line. "I always knew I wanted to be here for the opening, if possible."
Visitors will get a view of the city and its surroundings from above 1,250 feet, with sight lines stretching 50 miles past the Manhattan skyline and Statue of Liberty to the Atlantic Ocean.
Observatory At One World Trade Center Opens To Public
The observatory takes up levels 100, 101, and 102 of the building, the nation's tallest, at 1,776 feet. The main public viewing space is on the 100th floor, with restaurants on the 101st floor, and an event space on the 102nd floor.
The magnificent building impressed 13-year-old Simon Brune of Pittsburgh -- even more than a video game, WCBS 880's Rich Lamb reported.
"It was awesome -- you saw the planes at your height and you were able to look down at everything," Brune said. "It was pretty cool."
WTC Visitors Marvel At View During Opening
Visitors reach the observatory via one of five elevators called "skypods" that zip them to the observatory in 60 seconds. Along with a spectacular view, they will see a video called "Voices" about those who built One WTC. There's also a virtual time lapse that recreates the development of the New York City skyline and beyond from the 1600s to present day.
Those not fond of high elevations can walk on video screens that show the dizzying view below.
Tickets are $32 for adults, $26 for children ages 6-12 and $30 for seniors. Admission is free for family members of those who died on Sept. 11, as well as those who worked in the rescue and recovery.
Officials expect 3 million to 4 million visitors a year.
Tickets are available at the observatory ticket booth and online.
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