There are taller buildings in New York City, but the view from here is not to be missed. Besides, you can't see the Empire State Building from the top of the Empire State Building. If you want to see all of New York at once, go to 30 Rockefeller Plaza.
We had three hours left in New York City, and wanted to see it all. We needed a good vantage point without a serious line-up. The guide book suggested that we’d miss our train if we waited in line for the Empire State Building, so we made our way to the Top of the Rock.
The Top of the Rock is three levels of observation decks on the top of the GE Building at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Even though there are 8 taller buildings in NYC; standing on top of this 70-story building feels like standing on top of the world.
We got there early in the morning, shortly after they opened at 8 AM, and sauntered through the 2nd floor visitor area. We had our obligatory green screen photo taken (this seems to be an annoying trend at all the big US attractions), and caught the elevator to the 67th floor.
The views seem to be orchestrated to blow your mind incrementally. First you see this massive city through huge windows, then you wander out to see the vistas from the open air – with walls behind you and to the side, and as you climb to the 70th floor, you find yourself turning in circles in a vain attempt to comprehend the most fantastic panoramic view of New York City in existence.
The requisite coin-operated view finders always beckon me to take their picture instead of feeding them, and they always seem to make for a fine composition (if I do say so myself).
There are two reasons for ascending the Top of the Rock:
On one side you see the expanse that is Central Park. The rectangular green space is a precise swath carved out of the wall to wall concrete that is upper Manhattan.
On the other side you see the tallest buildings on the east coast stretch to the horizon, Lady Liberty a mere speck disguised by the glimmer of sunshine reflecting back from the ocean’s fingers. The iconic Empire State Building stands at centre stage; proud to be a New Yorker.
Adult admission was $21.00 when we were there, if we had time, I would have paid $30.00 for the Sunrise Sunset pass, which allows visitors to come back a second time on the same day.