Last August, I took at a trip to America with my family and boyfriend. For the first 10 days we visited the adventurous Orlando, where we explored the theme parks and did a bit too much shopping. (see future posts about this.) For the final few days in the US, we jetted north to New York for a city break to see the sights. In this post, I want to discuss one of the MUST-SEE tourist activities – seeing the NYC skyline.
Now, most people go and visit the Empire State building for panoramic views of the city. However a few weeks before we left, a friend told us about the Rockefeller’s Centre; a building parallel to the Empire State, located in the center of the city in Midtown Manhattan, not far from MOMA and Radio City. The interesting thing about going up Rockefellers, AKA “The Rock”, is you get panoramic views of the city which INCLUDE the Empire State Building. Result!
The building is pretty unassuming from the outside, however upon entry you are greeted with marble from ceiling to floor and beautiful architecture. Obviously, the Rockefeller building is used as a workplace so you walk in amongst workers who use separate stairs and lifts to get to their floors. The visitors are directed to a room with the most amazing chandeliers (pictured below), where, after buying tickets, you queue to go up on a short lift ride to get to the first observation deck.
At the ticket area, you can opt to buy a combination ticket meaning discounted entry to both “The Rock” and MOMA or get a proper tour for example. To filter the queues, you are led to a photo area where they take an official “Top of the Rock” photograph replicating the image of the workers sitting on the bar at the very top of the building. From there, whilst you wait for the other visitors to have their photos taken, you move through to a sort of cinema room, where they play really interesting films about the building and ownership of The Rock.
Once you leave the lift, you are free to roam the open air observation decks; there are two furthermore observation decks from the initial one the lift brings you too. To access these there are stairs, lifts and escalators. Scattered on the different levels are a shop, a bar and professional photo opportunities – however, the photos are expensive and often you don’t get a good shot of everyone smiling but the staff will not take another. (This is what my family experienced in the downstairs photo area.) Plus, other visitors at the top offered to take a photo for our family and we took one on their camera for them for free. (obvs)
Here are a couple of images of the views from The Top of The Rock. You can see Central Park and the Empire State building really clearly from the top:
My brother would even take a photo with me! Literally couldn’t believe it.
I would say my family and I were stood on the observation decks for a combined time of about 70 minutes. Even my 14-year-old brother enjoyed it! We were also very lucky, as we had a beautiful, clear and sunny day, and it wasn’t awfully busy despite it being school holidays and the early afternoon. You were never short of seeing a view or getting the photo you wanted, people are constantly moving about so you don’t have to wait to get up close to the edge of the building. You can also look through the metal binoculars for $1 located on each observation deck, however the view through your own eyes is still amazing.
To get to “The Top of the Rock” observation deck costs around $27-$34, the same price as the Empire State. I would strongly recommend going to the Rockefeller Centre, as you get a true panoramic of New York, can easily see the sites and it’s just a brilliant tourist-y thing to do! I had an absolutely brilliant time admiring the views and taking photos with my family.