1,353 Feet Above Chicago, And No Floor

I’m game. I like to go places and do stuff. But no way am I going out on the Sears Tower’s new Skydeck Ledge.

Oh, I want to. And I’m sure I would be transfixed for the split second before I dropped dead of sheer terror.

For those with a little more gumption, the Skydeck Ledge opens today. It costs $14.95 for adults and $10.50 for children.

The “Ledge” consists of a series of glass boxes that jut four feet out from the building, offering an unobstructed view past one’s shoes to the street far, far below. The boxes can be retracted back into the building for cleaning, which is pretty cool.

I’m not really that chicken about heights. I remember well visiting the Grand Canyon with my parents, and how my mother kept entreating me to stay farther back from the edge. (OK, I remember it well because it was just a couple of years ago and I was already over 40 years old … but still, not a chicken.)

Unless there’s no floor. Very few things in this world are as daunting to me as the idea of stepping out onto a glass floor above a sheer drop of a quarter-mile.  This is a very particular form of acrophobia that can be completely cured by a visible barrier between me and death. Visible is sort of the key.

Years ago I ventured out on an old railroad bridge that, though generally sturdy, has some gaps in its planks that revealed a view of a river some 40 or 50 feet below. I got out about three feet and froze, terrified.

Today that bridge is part of rail trail, with a paved surface and high railings. I cross it often, and sit on a bench at the very edge to enjoy the view. Same structure, different psychology.

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3 thoughts on “1,353 Feet Above Chicago, And No Floor

  1. neighbor jon

    Great that it retracts for cleaning. I assume that most of what is cleaned off is human bodily fluids….

    Reply

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