Monday, July 04, 2016

Slip-Slidin' High Above Los Angeles: The Opening of Skyspace and Skyslide

US Bank Tower skyspace

70 stories above downtown Los Angeles, the "Skyslide" -- part of the new "Skyspace" attraction atop the U.S. Bank Tower (a.k.a. Library Tower) offers a quick, 5-second thrill ride where, for a way-too-brief period of time, the only thing separating you from plunging down to the earth, nearly 1,000 feet below, is a thick piece of glass on all four sides. Here's what it's like: It's FAST. You turn a corner, and for a split second your heart beats -- as you wonder if it's going to be YOUR FEET that finally cracks the slide wide open. And then you quickly tumble out.

The Skyspace is now open, and it finally gives Los Angeles its own skyscraper viewing experience, something that was weirdly in short supply in our city. It also opens as the U.S. Bank/Library Tower is still the tallest tower west of the Mississippi. (The Wilshire Grand, still under construction, will soon be the tallest -- and will also boast an observation deck. But because the Wilshire Grand is on lower land, the U.S. Bank/Library Tower will still look taller when you glance at the skyline.)

The "Skyslide" adds a little something extra to the traditional observation deck experience. The trip through the "Skyspace," which includes four floors of attractions, costs $25 for adults over 13; it costs $8 extra to ride the Skyslide. (That's more than $1 per second... but it is something you can say that you did.) Kids are $19 to the top + $8 for the Skyslide, while seniors over 65 are $22 + $8.

Some pics from the experience:

US Bank Tower skyspace
The tagline: "Transform Your View."

US Bank Tower skyspace
A close-up view of the slide. Seriously, who came up with this idea?

US Bank Tower skyspace
Before you get to the 70th floor, there's the "Skyspace" Experience on the 52nd floor. I guess this is meant to make you feel it's worth the money. Cool video screens and visual illusions.

US Bank Tower skyspace
One of the visual effects: Through mirrors, it looks like you're peering into the building's spine.

US Bank Tower skyspace
Meta video screen of the downtown skyline (they'll have to re-do that when the Wilshire Grand tower is completed)

US Bank Tower skyspace
An Australian reporter prepares to slide down. She wasn't happy: Security told her she couldn't hold up her GoPro camera for the spot. Apparently others had been filming while going down, and not paying attention as they landed -- and suddenly it was a safety risk.

US Bank Tower skyspace
Another slider.

US Bank Tower skyspace
My turn!

US Bank Tower skyspace
Preparing the mat -- so you don't slide out on to rough concrete.

US Bank Tower skyspace
The view of someone sliding down from the bottom.

US Bank Tower skyspace
The observation deck is quite classy. This ain't the Empire State Building. Given the fewer tourists likely to cycle through, Skyspace is betting on the attraction for events -- parties, weddings, receptions up high.

US Bank Tower skyspace
View east from the 70th floor

US Bank Tower skyspace
The view north (that's the 110 to the left)

US Bank Tower skyspace
Southwest view (check out the Wilshire Grand, still under construction)

US Bank Tower skyspace
The south view

US Bank Tower skyspace
The northwest view of Hollywood.

US Bank Tower skyspace
Pershing Square from way up high!

US Bank Tower skyspace
Echo Park!

US Bank Tower skyspace
South.

US Bank Tower skyspace
Goodies for sale include miniature U.S. Bank Towers.

US Bank Tower skyspace
T-shirts too. 2016!

US Bank Tower skyspace
Mural on the way out

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