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Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
May 16, 2013
From journal A New York Minute
St. Augustine, Florida
October 29, 2009
From journal Must-See Visits in New York City
Bath, United Kingdom
September 10, 2009
by Joy S
Manchester, England, United Kingdom
January 1, 2008
From journal A Week in New York
New York, New York
June 20, 2000
From journal Bluegrass meets the Big Apple
New Haven, Connecticut
March 11, 2007
From journal Quick New York Getaway
Sheffield, United Kingdom
November 3, 2005
It is essential viewing, of course, for a first and probably every subsequent visit to New York, because then you can experience it at different times of day. We went at about midday, and the queues were much less than when we had passed by the previous day at about 3pm. Be prepared to queue whenever you go though, then queue again, and, in fact, then queue again. Pick up one of the info leaflets on the way in and you can spend your queueing time reading about how the building was constructed in just over a year and the immense numbers of people who worked on it, as well as overviews of what you can see in each direction.
However long you're standing in line, it will be more than worth it. Despite all the pictures you've seen of the views, nothing quite prepares you for what it's like. It gives you a fantastic sense of how Manhattan all fits together, and seeing Central Park in its entirety is amazing - the rest of NY may not be particularly green, although the leafy roads in East Village and a few little parks dotted around the place don't make it feel overly sparse of vegetation elsewhere, but the sheer scale of Central Park and the proportion of the island that it takes up is quite staggering.
There are audio handsets available for hire for $6, but we didn't bother with these. They will tell you that there aren't any maps or guides up at the observatory before you go up there in order to try to persuade you to hire one, but in fact there are diagrams on each side of the viewing platform with a key to all the main buildings and attractions which we found to be quite enough for our needs. Entry to the ESB is $14 for adults, and apparently the NY skyride simulated arial tour isn't recommended by those who've experienced it - it's much better to just head up the 86 floors and gaze in wonder!
From journal Five days in NYC
London, United Kingdom
September 20, 2005
After what felt like an eternity, we reached the elevator to go partway up, and then we queued some more. Eventually we reached the top to be greeted by a man in a dinner jacket playing a small Hammond organ. He was playing "Here comes the Bride." It was St Valentine's Day, and several couples were getting married at the top of this landmark, but at the same time, there was a throng of tourists who had paid money to go up there, which one bride wasn't too happy about, so she started shouting at the queue that they were ruining her wedding. Outside on the viewing deck, we were still tussling for space with wedding-reception guests clutching their champagne glasses, but we managed to take in the views.
The views were impressive, and it is a great way to see the whole city, but it’s not the sort of thing you need to do again, and I certainly won't be booking my wedding up there.
From journal First Bite of the Big Apple
April 14, 2005
Even on a cloudy day, it was possible to see for miles all around. After days of looking up at skyscrapers, it was at once humbling and empowering to look down on them.
The Silver Hub Caps of the Chrysler Building, the golden pyramids of the insurance buildings, letting your eyes run down the length of 5th Avenue all the way to the Washington Square arch. The green and brown blocks to the north mark out Central Park. This is New York from an entirely new perspective.
The viewing platfrom is 86 floors up and includes an inside and an outside platform. Though I normally suffer from vertigo, I had no problem on the outside platform. It's a testament to the apparent solidity of the railings and barriers. It can get cold that high up, so make sure you are well-covered.
The cost was $13 per adult and free for children under 6. Allowing for queuing for tickets and queuing for lifts, it took about 45 minutes, from getting in the front doors to stepping out onto the viewing platform. I imagine it would take longer on a clearer day.
From journal Easter in New York City
April 9, 2004
You then wait in line down a long, enclosed corridor which is lined with fans to keep the air moving. Again, I can't even imagine what this would be like in the heat of the summer!
When you reach the 80th floor, they have you leave the elevators and then take your picture in front of a cheesy canvas which you can purchase later. Then you board another elevator where you climb up six more floors to the 86th. You exit through a gift shop out onto the observation level, which is outdoors. Visibility can certainly make or break your visit, so check the weather before you leave the hotel!
You must wait in line again when you leave the observation deck. You can now book your tickets ahead of time on the Empire State Building website.
350 5th Avenue
1, 2, 3 or 9 (Seventh Avenue Lines), A, C or E (Eighth Avenue Subway) to 34th Street/Penn Station.
From journal New York - March/April 2004