Last Friday night I had a true NYC tourist outing – I went to the top of the Empire State Building with my uncle and cousin. They were in town doing the college visit thing and I got to meet up with them a couple different times and show them around New York a little bit. It was a blast – I hope they come back soon, even if my cousin doesn’t end up here for school!
Anyway, after dinner on Friday we meandered down to 34th Street. We stopped in Macys and rode the old school escalators all the way to the top before I remembered that the men’s section was on the other side of the building, and then we headed over to the Empire State. It was around 9:45, and we were warned there’d be a 30 or so minute wait. Honestly, I don’t think we were waiting all that long – mostly it just took a while to get up the elevator, buy tickets, and make our way to the observatory deck on the 86th floor.
There was a line for the elevator from the 80th floor to the 86th, but they also told us we could take the stairs, so we got in our workout and climbed six flights up (and later, six flights down). I was a little out of breath, but the view from the 86th floor was totally worth it.
I think I’ve mentioned before that I’ve always loved views from a height. When I went on a choir trip to Italy in college, climbing to the tops of the duomos and of St. Peter’s were some of my favorite parts of the whole trip. The six flights to the top of the Empire State were nothing compared to those climbs, but its view is even more impressive. Being outside while up that high is amazing.
We got the supplementary tickets to go up to the 102ndstory – the view was lovely from there too, but not different enough that I’d do it again. It’s also enclosed by windows, so there’s more of a distance between you and the lights of the city.
Admission (without fast pass to skip the line) to the 86thfloor is $29. If you haven’t done it before, it’s worth doing, especially at night. The city is both huge and tiny from above, and so very complex — kind of like looking at the Panorama. Looking down at the taxis moving through the streets, the ads of Times Square flashing, the Freedom all the way downtown – it’s all beautiful from on high.
Have you been to the Empire State Building? What’d you think? Are there other rooftop views I should be checking out? I need to get to the Met and visit their roof again before the summer ends…
2 thoughts on “View from the top: the Empire State Building”
I completely love these up-high views also. I usually make it a priority in any new city I spend a decent amount of time in to check it out from above. The other great one in Manhattan is 30 Rock.
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