Empire State Views

One of the New York skyline’s most famous landmarks, probably the most recognisable building in the USA and a tourist trap – the Empire State Building and I loved it. Once the world’s tallest building, it just has a certain je ne sais quoi – the height, the lines, the spire, those 102 storeys that rose from the ground over the course of barely more than a year – we just had to visit. The numbers are staggering – 1,450 feet high, 60,000 tonnes of steel and 6,500 windows (which somebody has to wash), the skyscraper was built in 410 days at a cost of $40 million during the Depression. I always think of it as the vertical perch from which King Kong was knocked! Some say the Chrysler Building is the most beautiful skyscraper in the city – maybe so, but this is the most iconic. By day impressive, by night stunning bathed in lighting to reflect the season or holiday.

12.05.15 - Top of the Rock

12.03.06 - Empire State Building

We bought our tickets in advance online, well worth doing as it saved 50 minutes queuing to buy them on the day. We did still encounter the lines going through security and waiting for the lifts but avoiding at least one queue, well that makes you feel slightly better.

12.04.02 - View of Empire State Building from hotel roof terrace

The gift shop and photo exhibit marking the construction of the building in 1931 are worth browsing in, but here it’s all about the views. We emerged onto the outdoor observation deck on the 86th floor to have our breath taken away…. by the crowds. Unbelievably jammed with people, be prepared to push, be pushed and get crushed all at the same time. Our visit was early on a Friday morning – I assume there is never a “good time” to come here. Still, when we did manage to bag a spot at the edge we were rewarded with jaw dropping views of Manhattan. On a clear day apparently you can see for up to 80 miles – as far as Connecticut and Pennsylvania – we were not blessed with a clear day. Still those views of Manhattan and the skyscrapers below are none too shabby. No sign of King Kong but we might just have found the spot where Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan met in Sleepless in Seattle.

12.07.05 - Top of the Empire State Building

12.07.04 - Top of the Empire State Building

Back down to earth again and time to take in the building a little bit more.  The marble lobby is wonderful and the features of the building are so striking. I came away convinced the interior is every bit as good as the views – maybe better. The striking features and beautiful spaces make you feel you are somewhere special. For me this was the highlight – more so than the exterior and even that view.

12.07.02 - Empire State Building

Just a short walk from the Empire State Building is the New York Public Library – 2 blocks long with more than 2 million books inside, heaven to me. This time I had to content myself with looking from the outside. Son, hungry and ready for lunch quite liked the two majestic stone lions out front – Patience and Fortitude, decked out for Christmas in holly garlands. Patience was in short supply from our youngest family member though – until lunch in the form of the biggest pretzel ever arrived.

12.07.11 - New York Public Library

12.07.12 - New York pretzel

37 thoughts on “Empire State Views

  1. I love the Empire State Building. To me it also has a certain attraction. I must say that I am also very proud that I had the chance to see it from the World Trade Center in 1999. We took pictures with our 3 months old son who was born in the states inside the building – a priceless memory!

    • There’s just something about the Empire State Building isn’t there Erika? Despite being a tourist trap I love it. We were also lucky enough to go up the World Trade Center in 1997 – bittersweet memories!

      • Last year we were standing at the memorial park of 9/11. That was heavy! The memories when we were there the last time, the pics in our head from the attacks and all the tragedies. But I have to say that they made it a beautiful place.

    • It’s strange isn’t it – the first time I went to New York I felt like I knew it for exactly the same reason. All those films I’ve seen with the city as the backdrop makes it feel so familiar. Maybe that’s why I liked the Empire State Building so much too!!

  2. We did the same walk in reverse – past the library to get to the ESB – when we were last in NYC almost a year ago. My second youngest was actually disappointed that there was not a model of King Kong at the top. Ha ha! I have been up the Empire State Building at night as well as by day and that provides an entirely different impression. The Chrysler Building is still my favourite NYC skyscraper though.

  3. Yes, the Empire State Building is fantastic. Thanks for the post. My favorite view of it is from the top of Rockefeller Center–another tourist trap but also worthwhile, especially at twilight. You mentioned a good view of the Chrysler from your hotel. Where were you staying?

    • We went to the Top of the Rock by day, it must be amazing at twilight though – maybe next time…. We stayed near Grand Central and had a nice view of the Chrysler from the roof top terrace.

  4. The New York Public Library is very impressive from inside, it is so huge and so quiet, I was so impressed the first time I visited it. The views from the empire state building are amazing ! I like the flat-iron building as well. I think with the chrysler, they represent well the diversity of new york buildings 🙂

  5. I love the marble lobby of the Empire State building Joy it’s very impressive! I would probably get squashed in the crowds trying to get a view from the viewing deck since I’m only 5 foot 2 though sometimes it works as I can duck under people! Spectacular views even though it wasn’t the best weather and I like the sound of the New York Public Library too that would be a very interesting place to visit. Gorgeous photo of your son with his pretzel that would have hopefully kept him occupied for a while! Hope you enjoyed your break to London and have a great weekend this week too! 🙂

    • I think being smaller would probably have worked well here too Rosemary!! The views are stunning – we had a grey and dull day, imagine what it would be like with clear views!! London was superb – very cold but we went to the theatre and had a great time, we always love the buzz there!!

      • It looks wonderful on a dull day Joy so as you say it would be stunning on a clear one! Yes I gather it’s been very cold – my daughter has had to crank up the heat this past week or so! We’ll be over in just over 2 months now – even if it’s warmer I’ll still feel the cold I always do coming off an Australian summer! I’m looking forward to exploring London again with Mlle – she’s very involved in the arts and theatre scene so I’m sure she’ll be taking us to a few things. I know there’s a very trendy bar/cafe in Soho (Cafe Boheme) that has become one of her favourite haunts so she’s taking us there! Glad you had a good weekend away and enjoy this one too:)

  6. I love the Sleepless in Seattle reference ❤ 🙂 The Empire State Building is a landmark I want to go see and New York is a state I must visit soon. I will definitely be following your New York posts!

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