Manhattan is an ‘island’, skyline, and city that creates a breath taking scene. As a heavily filmed location it has become an iconic city scape, and due to its scale there are many ways to take this place in. Most visitors are limited in the number of days they have to spend here, and are also likely to be limited in terms of their budget. Therefore, taking in the great views can involve making a choice on which way to best view the city within our own time and monetary constraints.
The Options Available
Viewing the city the high way can be done by scaling the Empire State Building and The Rockefeller, or via helicopter if you’ve got $200 to spare in a city that demands your hard earned cash in many ways. There are also a number of river tours and water taxis that offer a different worm’s eye view to the standard on-foot experience. On-foot can feel like walking down concrete canyons and losing track of your relationship with direct daylight, and is great for getting that ‘lost in the hustle and bustle’ feeling. Also don’t forget the free Staten Island ferry, worth the saved pennies to catch the Statue of Liberty and a river view of downtown NY.
Why is the Rock Top?
So what’s so great about the Rockefeller compared to the rest? Well, you do have to pay, but unlike the Empire State Building (ESB) your one ticket will give you access to all three observation floors, and not sting you with an additional fee to go all the way to the top. Viewing New York from up above takes you out of the hustle and bustle of the streets, but keeps you near enough to hear the urban sounds and still feel part of the beating city. The boat options can feel one dimensional with their limited views and the buildings on the banks create a wall hiding what lies within.
The next great thing about the Rockefeller is that you schedule what time you go up. Aside from avoiding the various stages of queues in the ESB, this is also great for factoring the visit into your day without worrying about allocating enough time for queuing up. It also helps you accurately time when you arrive, so if you want to catch the transition between daylight and nightfall for example, (highly recommended!) then you can do.
Located in Mid-Town Manhattan, the North view of Central Park and the South view of Mid-Town and Downtown combined creates a brilliant duality of urban and green beauty. As well as this, the Rock is close enough to Central Park to enable you to enjoy it in detail and take in a stunning world renowned location.
Ironically, bearing in mind the competition between the two towers, the fact that the Empire State Building is more famous and more impressive actually works against it. If you go up the Empire State Building, you can’t actually see the number one attraction in New York; the Empire State Building! However have you heard of the Rockefeller? It’s nearby and has a great view of the ESB.
With three observation decks on offer, you have the spoilt choice of; inside viewing, a large outdoor deck and a smaller summit deck, all for one price. This makes it great in all seasons and weather conditions, and adds more depth to the experience as you ascend upwards. The outdoor decks are protected by glass viewing barriers, which is a lot better for unobstructed photos. The ESB has metal railings which can ruin any snaps you take from behind the crowds.
So all in all, the Rock is Top when it comes to Manhattan views. The free options of walking around and the free Staten Island ferry will start you off, but if you are going to part with your cash and take in Manhattan from afar, then the Rockefeller offers the best, most complete option available. The ability to take it all-in-one frees up time for the many other NYC attractions, of which there are too many to list here!