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Better than Empire State
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
Top of the Rock
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.
Cooler view than the Empire State Building
One of the top 10 things to do has been to go to the top of the Empire State Buiding and enjoy the bird's eye view of the city. However, there's something better.... The Top of the Rock.
Not only do you get a great view of the city (360 degree), you can take photos of the Empire State Building and Central park. There are 3 different observation floors, the two lower have a plexaglass barrier, with slits to photograph through, and the top (70th floor) is totaly open and great for photographers.
While many websites, say buy your ticket early, and be ready to wait. I had no problems, with lines. They open the doors at 8am, which is when I arrived... no line. Then I returned that night at 7 pm, and found a very short line (less than 5 minutes)
You can buy your tickets online (at thier website) Also they sometimes offer special online deals. You can buy a two visit ticket for only $10 more. This will allow you to visit in the daytime, then again after dark. If you only want to go up once it's $20 plus $2 if you want a map of the city.
Photographer note: The 70th floor is closed if there is lighting in the area. Also they an aggrement with Kodak not to let you use a full size tripod. I got buy with the monopod, but not sure if it was just luck. You are allowed to use a mini tripods or beanbags and there are large ledges to set up on.
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
Top of the Rock
Taking pictures or just sightseeing from the Empire State Building is like shooting photos
from the Eiffel Tower in Paris:
one of the best buildings isn't in the shot.Top of the Rock is finally open again and fixes that problem. You can look south towards the Empire State building or north towards Central Park for a great view of Manhattan.
It costs $17.50, during the week it's not crowded and slow like the Empire State Building, the staff seems to be friendlier, ... just a more relaxed and imo higher quality experience than the observation deck of the Empire State Building, plus, you actually get to see the Empire State building.
For lots of info & history, check out the excellent websiteDusk / sunset is my favorite time to visit.
Foto tip: Per T o' Rock staff the rule is supposedly NO TRIPODS, so night digital shots might get a little digi-blurry without a tripod.
I suspect the "no tripod rule" is kind of a wink-wink thing
(they let you take 'em up there).
If your tripod is small / collapsible and you don't get in the way of others, you might be able to get away with it.
Virtually no heavy crowds or waiting on normal weekdays,
and for visiting on weekends or the 'heavy' holidays you can book the ticket on the web & print it or reserve by phone.
It's open from ~ 8:30 a.m. to midnight (last elevator is at 11 p.m) 365 days a year.
I think it's easily worth the money.
- Historical Travel
Top of the Rock
There is an observatory at the top of the Rockefeller Center and I had the opportunity to do this. After you get your ticket there is plenty of interpretation on the center’s construction, history and Rockefeller’s philanthropy.
Once you are to the top of the center you will see all of New York and as far as the eyes can see on a good day. It was from here I got the sense of Manhattan’s magnitude and our tour guide gave me an orientation of all the boroughs. I recommend this visit for a great view of central park, the Empire State Building and countless other things. From this perch you can just barely see the Statue of Liberty and this statue is huge.
TOP OF THE ROCK™ is an experience in history and scenery that culminates with unparalleled views of New York City from the newly opened Observation Deck on the 70th floor of 30 Rockefeller Center, in the heart of midtown Manhattan. Visit during the day to see the splendor of the city unfold beneath you or visit at night and see the city sparkle.
What a incredible view
You have to go there and wait for the sunset, so you will see the city turning on light. Its a great view.
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