CHICAGO -- Yesterday, while on a day trip in Chicago, my family and I squeezed into a packed elevator and rode 103 floors -- that’s 1,353 feet -- to the top of the Sears Tower, 233 S. Wacker Dr.
I didn’t feel a single flutter of anxiety until I saw the new glass boxes that hang from the tower’s facade and allow visitors to "step off the ledge." The glass boxes -- which opened to the public on Thursday, July 2 -- jut out 4 1/2 feet from the tower and are completely transparent, supported by steel beams.
It’s an extremely freaky feeling to step into one of the boxes and see exactly what it looks like to free fall from a quarter-mile in the sky. The panoramic view is both terrifying and breathtaking, and I’m not even afraid of heights.
I did not see a single sign stating a weight limit -- or person limit -- for the boxes, and I found it slightly unnerving that visitors were piling into them like they did the elevator. (Later, I learned that each box can hold at least five tons.)
My kids were super eager to test them out, and I admit I may have directed them towards a box that appeared to have lighter people on board. I know this makes little sense considering that each box could hold an elephant, but the high altitude might have enhanced my irrational mom fears.
One woman stepped into a box and stepped right back out. "I can’t do it," she said to me with wild, wide eyes. My sons, however, jumped up and down (!) from inside the box and yelled out, "Whoa! This is cool!"
I stood in one of the glass spaces for about a minute. I felt like Wile E. Coyote from the old Road Runner cartoons when he ran off the edge of a cliff and always froze in mid-air for a second or two, sometimes just to open an umbrella, before plunging to the ground.
Then I thought, "I think I see my dad," which is what Cameron said in the 1986 comedy "Ferris Bueller’s Day Off" when he looked down from the top floor of the Sears Tower.
Finally, I thought about glass, and how, in my lifetime, I have seen it crack, smash, explode and shatter. And that’s exactly when I stepped out of the box.
The CN Tower in Toronto also has a glass floor. I nervously stood on in while there on a girls' weekend last year. Very trippy!
We were to take a trip to the Grand Canyon in January, and I was really looking forward to walking their new glass loop sidewalk that extends out over the canyon floor. There was no way Voot or Alana would have done it, but I was ready. We had to postpone our trip, but this coming January - I'll be out on the circle of glass. Maybe I should test my nerves by hitting the Sears Tower!
Gotta give you props, Molly!! I'm afraid of heights (I even had trouble going up to the Polaris restaurant after seeing all the floors from the inside!) and I don't think I could have even gone up in the Sears Tower much less stood on the glass. No, sir. Don't like heights at all.
3 comments about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Molly Snyder
Published Sept. 21, 2014
The ditching of commercial shampoo has become popular enough to gain the moniker "no poo." Could you do it? We found Milwaukeeans who did and and others who simply cannot.
Published Sept. 20, 2014
Sixteen years ago, Marina Lee sculpted and painted a group of whimsical public art "creatures" for Cass Street Park, 1647 N. Cass St. Lee is currently repainting five of the colorful animal hybrids.
Published Sept. 20, 2014
This summer, Gary Johnson celebrated two decades of owning his pet and pet supply store, Gary's Pet Jungle, 2857 S. Howell Ave. During that, says Johnson, "I've been bitten way less by gerbils than hamsters."
Published Sept. 19, 2014
Milwaukee Blacksmith is a finalist for The 2014 Martha Stewart American Made Awards. Now's the time to vote for this local, family-owned company.
Published Sept. 19, 2014
The Uptowner - aka "home of the beautiful people" - turns 130 this month and will celebrate with a free bash on Saturday, Sept. 20. Recently, we spent a Thursday afternoon listening to owner Steve Johnson's stories - as well as his wife Shawnette Smart's myriad tales. Some of the yarns were funny, some sad, some unfit to print, but all of them were told with the heart and wit that explain why the Uptowner has been frequented by so many people - from the uber glamorous to the down-and-out.
Published Sept. 18, 2014
Shorewood hosts its second Plein Air Festival through Saturday, Sept. 20. The event features more than 60 artists painting outdoors throughout the village.
Published Sept. 17, 2014
After less than a year in business, Dan Fitzgibbons was asked to close The Curve by mid-October.
Published Sept. 14, 2014
Dear Kate is a relatively new line of undergarments with a built-in lining made to protect like a panty liner. OnMilwaukee.com recently took a pair on a test drive to Period Town.
Published Sept. 13, 2014
District 14, located next door to Cafe Lulu, will have a soft opening tonight, starting at 7 p.m. OnMilwaukee.com stopped by three hours early to get a sneak peek.
Published Sept. 12, 2014
These now-defunct, kid-friendly restaurants have many things in common, including this ...