18 November 2013

New York - Empire State vs Top of the Rock

Chrysler Building viewed from the Empire State Building at night, New York City
My favourite skyscraper in New York is the Chrysler Building. Its elegant and beautiful and i just never tired of spotting it amongst New York skyline. Unfortunately it doesn't have a viewing deck open to the public. I had always intended to visit the Empire State Building but New York lover told me a should go to Top of the Rock. So i went to both.

The Empire State entrance hall
I confess, standing in line for hours is not my ideal way of spending time on a short trip but, one night out, i walked past the Empire State Building and decided to give it a go. I was in luck! There was no line snaking out the building and around the block, so in i went. I didn't have to queue more than 10 minutes at either the security screenings, to buy a ticket or for the lifts. Seeing Manhattan lit up at night was worth it. It was a fair but busy at the top but i still managed to get all my touristy photos and find a spot to just look out at the city without looking over someones shoulder. The very top on the other hand was less crowded and enclosed, which made it a bit warmer than being in the open air. Standing there, i tried to imagine what it would have been like if it really did act as a landing bay for airships and what the world would have looked like if that was a common means of transport. I also had an even more incredible birds-eye view of this amazing city and was able to comfortably mark out where i had been already.

Downtown viewed from the Empire State Building at night, New York City

Times Square all lit up at night, viewed from the Empire State Building, New York City
Top of the Rock is the top of the GE Building at Rockefeller Centre. I was lucky to find that there was hardly a line at all. Top of the Rock has stunning views over Central Park, the city and the Empire State building itself. It was nowhere near as crowded during the day as the Empire State was at night and it had many levels all open and instead of the protective metal fence, they had glass and some places didn't need any protective barrier at all which allowed for some great photos!

Rockefeller Centre and the GE building (Top of the Rock), New York City

Looking towards Central Park and Upper Manhattan, viewed from the Top of the Rock, New York City

By far one of my most favourite photos - the Empire State and Downtown, viewed from Top of the Rock, New York City
I have to say, i do prefer Top of the Rock to the Empire State but each building does have its own magic and charm. If you have the time, budget and the inclination, go see both, each has its own pros and cons and you can make up your own mind which you prefer.

Have you visited either skyscraper? Which was your favourite?


  1. I too managed to luck into getting up the Empire State Building on the last group going up at night and thus no crowds. (this was after earlier in the day being lucky and getting on the last group going over to Liberty Island, it was a lucky day)

    So cold up there at night but it was fantastic! What a view.

  2. That does sound like a lucky day! Yeah, the view is really amazing!