New York City is raising the bar a little higher with the pre-opening of an observation deck atop the Western Hemisphere's tallest building, the recently-completed One World Trade Center.

Dubbed the One World Observatory, the three-floor facility is the latest milestone in the process of rebuilding the World Trade Center site after the collapse of its Twin Towers following attacks on 11 September 2001.

The new observatory rises 1,268ft above the city's hustle and bustle, according to its operator Legends. It will open to the general public on 29 May, the operator said, with invitation-only previews ahead of that date.

"This is unlike any observation deck any place in the world. Because rather than being just an elevator ride up, seeing the beautiful view and an elevator ride down, we've created a 45-minute to an hour entertainment experience," said David Kerschner, Legends president of attractions.

One World Observatory is bringing new competition to the city's other observation decks, namely the Rockefeller Center and the Empire State Building. On Wednesday (20 May), Kerschner claimed it is the city's highest vantage point.

One World Observatory's operator hopes visitors will be drawn by the technologically advanced features as well as the unmatched city and harbour views, said Kerschner.

"I think they'll start here because very quickly we're going to be known as the best view in New York," said Kerschner.

"I wish the Empire State Building and Top of the Rock the absolute best but folks and especially those folks that are making their journey downtown, which I think is becoming a real tourist destination, are going to want to come to our place."

Chief among the technological stunts is Sky Pod, five elevators shuttling visitors to the 102nd floor in just 47 seconds while simultaneously playing a time-lapse video recreating the development of New York City's skyline on immersive, floor-to-ceiling screens.

The animated film is also notable because it includes images of the old World Trade Centers, which appear for a few seconds. "We thought about it a lot, we felt that it was the most respectful way to deal with it," said Kerschner.

"I think everyone has to do what they think is right for themselves when it comes to that decision. I think that those that decide to come visit us will find that we leave them with the feeling of bold optimism for the future and a great feeling after they're here and they see the view and they see all that we've done."

Already, some 350,000 tickets, which go for $26-32 (£17-21) for regular-timed entries, have been either sold or reserved, Kerschner said.