I’ve written about how I love to get high in a city countless times, it is such a great perspective to see a city especially if you are only there for a short time. New York City was no exception but I had a decision to make: Empire State or Top Of The Rock? In 2011 I had been to NYC and scaled the Empire State only for my camera battery to run out within five minutes, from that visit I remembered clearly the disappointment of not being able to see Central Park very well and how strange the skyline looked without the Empire State in it. In 2014 my decision to scale the Top Of The Rock was an easy one.
I’d booked tickets online beforehand and planned the time perfectly so we would see sunset and darkness, what I hadn’t planned for was the weather…
On the day of our visit the weather was awful, a storm was coming in and half of New York City was covered in cloud. We were struggling to see the top of many buildings including the Empire State and One World Trade Centre. If you can’t see the top of the building it also means there is zero visibility up there, so at 3.45pm when were turned up that was what faced us. Opting to change our tickets for an hour or so later (after all the cloud was moving quickly) we headed out for some window shopping. That hour came and went and the same scenario was repeated, we booked our new ticket for 8.20pm and left for the Holiday Lights tour with Big Bus.
At 8.30pm we arrived back at the Rockafella Plaza after running from Times Square because we were late. Half expecting them to stop us and say no visibility, we were surprised when the doormen said nothing as we entered. We handed our tickets over and told there was now 100% visibility and with that the lift took us up, two floors. We hit the mezzanine area and had our photo taken on the ledge, you know like that famous photo. Then the real fun began and we ascended to the top in a bright and flashing lift.
The view was incredible but with the evening really set in and the bad weather that had been around all day, it was absolutely freezing! The wind was howling and due to the low cloud it was drizzling with rain. Unfortunately most of the viewing areas were outside and there weren’t many places to hide but enough about the cold and more about the view…
During our visit the visibility went from 100% to 0% in just over half an hour, although this isn’t common weather for New York City it gave us an unforgettable experience. Choosing the Top Of The Rock over the Empire State was definitely the right choice. The Empire State was lit up for Christmas and views of Central Park were perfect. I was little disappointed to only visit during the evening and not witness the city turning to dark however visiting in the dark was the perfect contrast to my day time trip up the Empire State years ago. However the darkness did make photo taking that little bit more difficult.
Tickets are available on their website for advanced purchase and expect to pay $29 for a single visit or $42 for a day and night ticket with two entries valid.
Just remember visits are weather permitting however you can change your ticket as many times as you like until they have visibility.