Thursday, September 17, 2015

Empire State Building with Pro Tips | NYC Trip Report

I'll give you one guess where today's blog post is taking us...


We're off to see New York City from above!


Becky and I are taking you to the top of the Empire State Building.


When you read reviews online, you'll hear that it's very touristy and has extremely long lines and that there are other high rises in NYC where you can get a good view without the high price tag on the ticket.  But then again, this is the Empire State Building.  It's so iconic - my cousin and I were excited to experience it ourselves. :)


The lines do get insane, and there are lots of them - a line to get through security, a line to get on the elevators, and don't forget, after you've looked around on the observation deck, you have to wait in line again to get on the elevators to come back down.

Pro tip: arrive first thing in the morning to get the shortest wait time.  At 9:00, when we got there, there was no wait to get in the lobby.  By the time we left, the line stretched far out the door.

Another Pro Tip: If you're sure you want to do the Empire State Building, consider getting the express pass.  It lets you skip the lines - literally, the employees direct you to "express yourself" and cut in front of everyone else when you show them your ticket (it's actually a little awkward...I wish they had a separate queue like Fastpass lines at Disney World).  The express pass is $30 more than the normal ticket - at first I wasn't sure I wanted to spend the extra money - but it literally bought us about 2-3 extra hours in New York City that we otherwise would have spent standing in line.  We only had a short weekend trip - I'd say the extra exploring time was worth it.



But since this is a vicarious blog post experience and not the real thing, we get to skip all the lines and tedious bits.


We can go straight up to the 86th floor...


...where this view awaits us!


Manhattan surrounding you and stretching out on every side - it was incredible.


We had a fun time picking out landmarks we knew - there's the Chrysler Building!


I loved all the rooftop gardens and terraces.


Are those chefs getting ready for an event?  I wish we were invited!


Tiny taxi cabs far below.  One surprising and beautiful thing was how quiet it all was way up high.  You could see the activity surging below you, but there was no rush of traffic, no horns honking, no music blaring - all you heard was the wind and the murmur of other tourists.


I spy the Flatiron Building!


...and there's Central Park!  That big building on the right side in the middle is the Metropolitan Museum of Art - where we had just visited the day before.


The spires of St. Patrick's Cathedral standing proudly between skyscrapers.


Zooming in on Lady Liberty!


The Observation Deck was quite crowded with tourists (most of whom, interestingly, were not speaking English), especially by the doors where you first come out.

Pro Tip: Be sure to walk around to the other side which is much less densely packed with people.  Once you find a spot by the rail, it's really peaceful.


Just you and the city. :)


Our ticket let us go all the way up to the 102nd floor.  It's a very small space and there's no outdoor deck - just windows to look out.  It is neat to get the perspective from even higher in the air.


The shadow of the Empire State Building stretched for blocks and blocks!


Taking in one last view before coming back down to earth.


Loved the elevator doors. :)

Have you guys ever been to the Empire State Building?  More Manhattan Adventures to come!

Previous NYC Update: Breakfast at Pret a Manger

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