So I haven't had a chance to go on the architectural tour yet, but I did make it to the Top of the Rock! Located on top of the 70-story GE building, at the center of Rockefeller Center, the observatory offers really nice views of the city down below. Although it's not as tall as the Empire State Building, I did very much enjoy the incredible feeling of standing on the very top of the building, which isn't fenced in like the ESB observatory. The view is relatively similar to the one you get at ESB (some say it's even nicer because you get to see the Empire State Building), but the waiting line usually is shorter. It's a good idea to bring an extra layer of clothing because it does get windy up there. Top of the Rock is open 7 days a week, from 8:00 am to 11:00 pm. Admission is not exactly cheap ($27), but there are some combo tickets available that allow you to save on admission to other attractions.
Everyone says the views from the Top of the Rock are the best of New York. I'm not so sure. I managed to get up the Empire State Building and I think they are better. But not by much. The great thing about Top of the Rock is that you can actually see the Empire State Building. This is a major plus in itself. The views of Central Park from here are also definitely better, but the views of downtown are best from the ESB. You could just pick one, and the Top of the Rock is definitely the easiest due to generally shorter queues, but do both if you can because New York is a city of skyscrapers. The views are incredible.
The Top of the Rock is the name given to the observation deck of the GE Building, an Art Deco skyscraper at the centre of the Rockefeller complex just south of Central Park. It's a magnificent building in itself, famous for the annual Christmas Tree that stands outside the main entrance overlooking the ice rink and its skaters. It's also home to NBC television studios, and is home to programs like the Today Show and Saturday Night Live.
Thursday, May 2, 2013
Part of our New York City Tour included a visit to the TOP OF THE ROCK OBSERVATION DECK which offers breathtaking panoramic views of New York City.
When you enter the front doors, you are subjected to a security check, then ushered to the elevators. They did a head count and then we entered the glass ceiling sky shuttle for an exciting ride to the top. I think it was the 67th floor that we got off. There are three stories of spectacular views, including stunning open air outdoor decks. You access the decks by escalator and the outdoor deck by stairway. It was very windy at the outdoor deck as you can imagine. The view of Central Park was simply amazing.
Entrance to the Observation Deck is located on 50th St. between 5th and 6th Avenue.
The cost of visiting the "Top of the Rock " was included in our tour package, but when I went to their website, they quoted the following general admission prices.
Senior ( 62 +) $25.00
Child ( 6 - 12) $17.00
Purchase tickets on line or at the Top of the Rock Box Office.
You can find $2.00 discount coupons at your hotel or information center.
In addtion to the Empire State Building, the Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center is also known for its splendid panoramas of the city. Again, advance tickets are highly recommended, particularly on weekends and anytime in summer.
If you buy your tickets online, the cost is $19 for a genetal ticket and $30 if you buy the sunrise/sunset ticket, which allows you to come during the day and again at night. I think, it's a great alternative to the Empire State Building since it's less crowded and the view from Top of the Rock actually includes a view of the Empire State Building. There are two levels of viewing with great views of Central Park.
Most people that visit New York City want to get up high to get a good vantage point on what is admittedly one of the great skylines in the world, even without the Twin Towers. The first choice is generally The Empire State Building. Who can resist climbing where King Kong once stood, right? Another top choice is Top of the Rock, the aptly named lofty spot atop Rockefeller Center. I'm sure many do both but at $21 a pop, we had to make a choice and much like my decisions on hiking to the tops of peaks, I like to climb the less famous or beautiful ones so I can see what I came to see in the first place. So, we opted for Top of the Rock so we could see The Empire State Building and were not disappointed. We hit it at dusk and would have liked to get up there slightly earlier. It was still a good time for photography as the buildings were lit up but it was still light enough to not need a tripod. A half hour earlier would have given us nice light on the buildings if had been a clear day. It is a very impressive sight and though a bit pricey, it is worthwhile. The Empire State Building is particularly impressive from this vantage point though I felt I actually got better photos from the Brooklyn Bridge as the sun was going down.
30 Rockefeller Plaza
Ok I know I said i loved the ESB (which i do!) but I think that you get far better views from up here with far less crowds - we got straight to the top without any kind of queue (ok 2 minutes to get the tickets)
The views are better here because you can actually see the ESB in all its glory. We went at night to see everything lit up but next time i would do the special ticket they offer - a same day ticket offering a visit in the morning and at night so you can see the same view but at different times of the day.
The staff here were much nicer than the ESB :-)
Top of the Rockefella Centre, go up to the top for amazing views - yes they are different than what you see from the Empire State - i mean this way, you actually get this amazing view of the Empire State itself.
Go up just before Dusk - you get daylight viewing & then evening into night & we saw a wonderful sunset!
Be careful when considering buying the 'photo' you had taken when you went in - they are fun & look good but are pricey and you dont know what package you are buying until they chat away so much you are lost! buy the photo if you want but dont get dragged into the extras...
If you have to decide between visiting the Empire state building or Top of the Rock I would personally say this is the better choice. My reasoning behind this is not only that it costs half the price, has a larger viewing platform but also that being 70 stories high it affordsa you the opportunity to have access to a much better skyline as well as view the iconic ESB as it is directly in front a few blocks away.
We timed it so that we would arrive at just before sunset, if you know an exact time you'll be there you can pre-book online with a discount or book ahead at the ticket office they will give you the time slot. We received a $2 off coupon just outside the rockefeller center which was handy & bought the price down to $18. You can stay as long as you like, tripods are not really allowed but you may be able to sneak in a small one. The view is 360 degrees panoramic with good views of central park.
Okay that title was a little corny, but we were glad we had the time to see this and enjoy the view. We printed off a $2 discount coupon from http://www.destinationcoupons.com/New_York/NYC/activity_top_of_the_rock/Deck.asp.
Price was $20, they talked us into a map for $2 which would tell us what we were looking at. It was so easy to get in. Basically no wait for either the tickets or the elevator. There were nice pictures and a short video which enhance the experience. It was interesting to read how the Rockefeller Center was built in the depth of the depression. You could have your picture taken looking like you were the ones sitting out on the end of the beam 50 floors up. The elevator has an translucent ceiling and lights in the shaft which let you look up to see where you are going.
The views were great. There are three observation levels. It was a little tricky finding your way up to the top open level, but that is where you want to go for unobstructed views. If it is cold then stay on the lowest enclosed level (the elevator will let you off here). The middle level has plexiglass. There are gift shops on the top and at the bottom. We loved being able to see Central park where we had spent the morning, views of the Empire State Building are great and the city is just a maze of buildings from this angle. Really amazing views.
Given the tight time situation that a traveller often has or encounter, a decision was made to by-pass the iconic Empire State Building in favour of yet another iconic skyscraper to travel to the TOP OF THE ROCK!
Indeed the hours or time saved from lining up in long queues turned out to be put into better use by going shopping or sightseeing at other spots.
Top of the Rock gives you a breathtaking view of New York City! The views are AWESOME and the line is way shorter here than at the Empire State Building.
You need to pre-book in advance, but they are seemingly okay with letting you in before your entry time. In my case, I was able to go in 30 minutes before my designated entry time.
This famous site is in the Rockefeller Building, is accessible by subway, and is right in the heart of all the action in Manhattan.
"Top of the Rock", the high-flying name of the platform on top of Rockefeller Centre, is the place which made my NYC visit unforgettable. It is just wonderful to see the city spread out 270m below you. Most of the skyscrapers that you looked up to only minutes ago are now small houses somewhere 100m closer to the ground, the never-ending noise of cars passing by and taxis honking is only a soft rushing sound in the distance, the thousands of people competing against each other when crossing the roads are not seen anymore. And then the view! Stretched out in all its beauty seemingly just behind the building is Central Park, further up the island you see the lower houses of Harlem. Turning west, New Jersey greets you while in the east Brooklyn and Queens are visible. The most impressive view, however, surely is the one south: Manhattan's endless sea of skyscrapers. You won't want to go back down, I promise you.
Make sure to come late in the afternoon - this will enable you to see the city from above in daylight, dusk and darkness as there is no time limit for staying on "Top of the Rock". And if Manhattan is a sheer wonder at daytime, just think of how magic it is at night with billions of lights flashing somewhere below you.
Btw, in order to avoid the queues you can buy your tickets for the same price outside in a small booth on the plaza behind the Rockefeller Centre. Credit Card payment only!
For more pics check my travelogue!
Visiting Manhattan for the first time will not be a complete affair without going to the top of a tall building to enjoy the skyline of this magnificent island.
The first time I did it I went to the Empire State Building. This time around I chose the Top of the Rock at Rockerfeller center instead.
I can say without a doubt that Rockerfeller Center is better due to two reasons:
1. No line! Yes, no line! When I went to the Empire State I had to wait more than an hour. At the Top of the Rock there was no line at ticket counter, a little wait for the elevator and that's it!
2. In my opinion the two most beautiful skyscrapers in Manhattan are the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building. If you climb up the ESB you will not get a view of itself!
It cost about $20 / adult
The Top of the Rock observation deck at Rockefeller Centre is located on top of the GE building, and recently renovated in 2005. It occupies the 67-70th floors and instead of viewing through a wire fence, like the Empire State Building, you get to see the NYC skyline through plexiglass.
I was told this would be better than the Empire State building, but I was a bit disappointed. Having done both, I feel the Empire State Building, though not that much higher, gives more dramatic views. You only get an obstructed view of the Chrysler building, where you can see it in all it's glory from the Empire State Building
The only advantages I can see is that you do get a nice photo of the Empire State Building, plus there are literally no crowds. We were practically the only ones lined up to get into the elevator for the ride to the top. I would say do Top of the Rock instead of the Empire State Building if you are strapped for time. Having been once, I would probably not return, but I would return to the Empire State Building.
Top of the Rock is open from 8 am until midnight and when we visited, it was $17.50 US for an adult admission.