Hancock Tower observatory is shut permanently
A popular tourist destination since 1976
By Carolyn Colletti, Boston.com Staff, 9/14/01
BOSTON - The John Hancock Tower Observatory, with its sweeping views of metro Boston at the top of the city's highest skyscraper, is being closed permanently in response to the terrorist attacks on New York's World Trade Center.
"It was a very difficult decision to make," said Roy Anderson, a spokesman for John Hancock Financial Services. "What it comes down to is that the safety of our employees is our number one priority."
The observatory has been closed since Tuesday, when the entire Hancock Tower was evacuated as a precaution shortly after two hijacked commercial jets slammed into the World Trade Center in Manhattan.
Many feared the 60-floor Hancock, which became the tallest building in Boston upon its completion in 1976, might become a target for terrorists as well.
The observatory has drawn 400,000 visitors a year, making it one of the region's most popular tourist destinations.
Despite its popularity, the company has been considering permanently closing the observatory for the past several years because it does not have its own entrance and there is no way to create one, Anderson said.
"We wanted to keep it open," Anderson said, but in light of the terrorist attacks, "personal safety is of paramount importance" now.
Private functions already scheduled to take place at the Observatory this year will be allowed to take place.
(Material from Boston.com's wire services was used in this report.)
Carolyn Colletti can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.