The Sky’s the Limit for Manhattan College Alum, Working for SUMMIT One Vanderbilt

By, Madalyn Johnson & Lauren Raziano, Web Editor &
Social Media Editor

SUMMIT One Vanderbilt is the new hyperdynamic day and night art and observation deck over the New York City landscape. The supertall skyscraper located in midtown Manhattan opened Thursday, October 21, and already has first time attendees raving about the experience as a sky-high thrill that will blow you away. 

Maddy Berry, who graduated from Manhattan College in 2019 as a history major, was an integral part of the exhibit’s grand opening. Berry is currently a Senior Account Executive for BerlinRosen, a public relations agency in Manhattan that works with clients from various industries ranging from real estate, to nonprofit, to issue advocacy. Berry works for the “Cities” team which focuses on managing public relations for real estate firms and building developers

On this particular project, Berry is doing public relations for SL Green, a real estate investment trust company that is working as the developer for SUMMIT One Vanderbilt. She shared with The Quadrangle how planning a media event for an exhibit that showcases New York City in a way no one has ever seen was challenging, although worthwhile in the end. 

“This is one of our ending events. We’re really doing a last, final press push. We wanted people to experience night because we have had press during the day to experience that, but night is totally different,” said Berry. 

“Planning it from start to finish was really a beast, it was finding the right people, finding the right outlets who had to source out your audience, who would want to come here, ‘Is it tourists or is it locals?’ This type of space everyone wants to come here doesn’t matter if you’re from New York or Wisconsin. So, planning it was super fun but super hard work.”

Just two years after graduating, Berry has worked on projects with big clients based in New York, despite not even studying public relations when attending Manhattan College. Berry’s story of majoring in a core curriculum subject and then maintaining a successful career in public relations demonstrates to students that the sky’s the limit once they leave college.

“I didn’t even know what PR was until I graduated college,” Berry said.

“I had a history degree because I loved studying people and history and sociology and the first job I could find out of college was real estate PR and they said, ‘You have a history degree, you must be good at writing, you must be good at research.’ I took the job and ended up loving it, and it flourished into an actual career. I knew there was PR for makeup and beauty, but I didn’t know there was PR for buildings and developers and experiences.”

Manhattan College Alum Maddy Berry ‘19 was an integral part of the grand opening campaign. MADDY BERRY/ COURTESY

On top of working with the building developer, Berry also had the opportunity of working with the artist who had the brilliant idea to create an illusion that would offer a spectacular art experience within the space of SUMMIT One Vanderbilt. The mirrored observation deck 90+ floors above New York City all came in a dream 25 years ago to its creator Kenzo Digital. He called this project “Air.”

“I feel like I’m in a dream, and I’m building a project that’s based on a recurring dream I’ve been having for 25 years. So between the confluence of all that. It’s quite strange and intense, but it’s also really interesting to have this world that only I’ve kind of experienced for 25 years.that is now a shared world with other people,” Kenzo Digital said to The Quadrangle. 

Kenzo Digital is a New York native who strived to create a space where people were able to interact with themselves and each other in both an abstracted and literal way.

“Over the past couple of weeks I’ve seen a steady stream of people come through and what I’ve felt very personally and intimately for 25 years. I see in a very abstracted way affect groups of people,” Kenzo Digital said. 

“It just makes me really happy, especially at this time in history, in this city, in this world, I think serendipitously something that I didn’t even know I needed in this way. It’s great to see people reconnect with each other. It’s very much a kind of individual to human connection and the way people interact with each other as friends or as strangers is unique and singular and powerful.”  

Crystal artist, Kerin Rose Gold, has been friends with Kenzo Digital for over ten years. Kerin Rose Gold has supported her friend by attending the opening and promoting the installation on her socials and doing so, has felt deeply connected to the exhibit. 

“I’ve actually been having a hard time articulating how I feel about the exhibit because it’s so overwhelming in the best of all possible meanings. It really makes you think about your own humanity, about your relationship to other people, and about your relationship to New York City.” Gold said.

After exclusively seeing the deck before its grand opening, Gold knows she will be back to see what else she can take away from experiencing an eerie exhibit with an unforgettable view of Manhattan.

“I’m still processing the experience, and probably will be for a long time and look forward to coming back again and again to experience it in a different light, both literally and metaphorically.” Kerin Rose Gold said.

Christine Tran Ferguson is a New York City content creator with close to 500k followers on her @tourdelust Instagram account. Ferguson’s last two videos with the Summit One Vanderbilt account have racked up over 10 Million views on Reels and Tik Tok. She shared her thoughts on the interactive experience after the captivating light show. 

“This experience is super amazing, super unique, and very different. I love how there are so many different floors and there are many opportunities to take photos, since that is what I do. I really love all the mirrors, it is just so different and unique than other observatories and you can see everything on this floor.” Ferguson said. 

In such a short time, Berry has become a leading example, to college students, on how to land a successful career post-graduation. She thanks Manhattan College for teaching her how vital networking is and motivating her to make significant changes to a city that millions of people cherish.

“I think just encouraging you to network, Manhattan College was always good with getting out there and doing a lot of career fairs. The teachers were amazing, it was a very liberal arts college. It was people who believed in the better of humanity and wanted to raise the next generation to do so and that encouraged me to create a better future for New York.”