I couldn’t head to New York without a visit to the Empire State Building. I decided that I was going to visit both the Rockefeller Center and Empire State Building whilst there as I didn’t want to leave regretting not doing anything. I thought it best to do one in the dark and one in the daylight. Everyone said that the Rockefeller was better, but I have to say, I am still undecided.
Empire State Building – I visited the ESB on my first night. There was hardly any queueing required and it took around 15mins to buy ticket, go through airport style security and get to the 86th floor. It is on this floor that we all saw Meg Ryan come flying out of the elevator looking for Tom Hanks. It was dark and it was a great view of the city lights at night. I paid extra to go up to the 102nd floor. It was pretty much the same as the 86th, except you couldn’t go outside. As with the CN Tower, the trouble with being at the top of an iconic building is that it is no longer in your skyline view. The nicest part about the ESB was the Jazz player. I went at 845pm knowing that the saxophonist starts at 9pm. Totally worth going for this. Being at the top of the ESB with the nighttime city view and the music was lovely. It was amazingly quiet and the few people there were silently taking photos or listening to the music. I could have stayed for hours enjoying it. I didnt stay too long as there were spikes to stop people sitting around the edge of the bit where the Jazz player was.
Rockefeller Center – This was actually my first stop after the whole Airbnb debacle. I hopped in an Uber and went straight for the tree and bought my ticket to go to the top of the rock this morning (Sunday). The Christmas tree was huge and looked like a green triangle speckled with glitter. The crowds and crowds of people pushing took away the magic. The Salvation Army people collecting money brought back some of the magic by singing and playing music. They sang Sweet Caroline. This gave me a lot of joyous feelings. The RC has lots of shops and cafes inside and, of course, the ice rink outside. I returned this morning to take a trip to the top. It took just under a minute in the elevator to get most of the way and there was an escalator up another floor, with a small staircase to the very top. The elevator was very Willy Wonka with lights and effects if you looked up whilst going up. It was all open air which was great. The initial views of Central Park were breathtaking. I preferred this view to the one of the ESB. I didn’t stay too long, whilst there were no spikes to deter loitering, there was no Jazz player to encourage it either.
In summary, top marks to the rock for the views and the ESB for the ambience. Writing this, it has occurred to me that I don’t know why either of these buildings are there! Maybe a bit of light reading for another day.