Sears Tower unveils glass balconies

July 1, 2009 2:56:04 PM PDT
Picture yourself 1,353 feet above Wacker Drive and there is nothing between you and the ground but a piece of glass. Welcome to The Ledge. It's a brand new addition to the Sears Tower SkyDeck and, according to ABC 7's Frank Mathie, it's a frightening new view of Chicago.

Before we look down from The Ledge, let's look up 103 stories to the Sears Tower SkyDeck. Up there in the fog, three new glass outcroppings were introduced to the media Wednesday morning, a grand unveiling almost ruined by the fog. But it lifted just enough to give us the latest view of upper Upper Wacker Drive.

The idea was inspired by window washers who had to keep cleaning off forehead prints on the glass.

"Forehead prints on the window. People really want to get closer and they want to look down. They can see out to four states with spectacular views in all directions, but they really want that down view, and that's why we delivered with the SkyDeck Ledge," said Randy Stancik, Sears Tower and SkyDeck GM.

The three ledges open to the public Thursday, but Wednesday a few lucky kids were allowed in to test these walking-on-air spaces. They didn't seem to be bothered at all. Falling off a skateboard probably seems like a bigger drop.

"I've been in for like a minute now so I'm sort of used to it," said Isaac Nolvofsky.

"It makes my feet feel funny," said Adam Kane, 10-year-old ledge fan.

A 1,353-foot-high tingle.

Now there are some people who loves heights, some who tolerate them, and then there are some who are absolutely terrified of heights, like I am. So no! I'm not walking out there. Maybe I'll crawl. If I can just do the army crawl. Now if i only had the courage to open my eyes.

But there really is no reason to be scared.

"It'll hold at least 5 tons. We weren't able to test it any larger than that or any greater weight than that," said Ross Wimer, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP.


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