Every Monday, Gray Line New York will be highlighting a “Partner of the Week” on our blog. We are going to provide a review for a new partner’s product and share our own insights and experiences. This week, our Partner of the Week is the Empire State Building.
When you picture the New York City skyline, what do you see? I think that it is safe to assume that a part of your image included the soaring Empire State Building. It is a beautiful sight to see, but it is a mind-blowingly different experience being at the top looking out, down and across at everything else for a change. And by everything else, I literally mean everything else.
The entrance to the observation deck is on the 5th Ave. side of the Empire State Building. I headed here on a chilly, but sunny and clear Wednesday morning. I was immediately impressed with the lobby because it was eloquently designed with all marble features. The workers directed everyone upstairs where all the visitors had to go through security. There were a lot of people around me just as eager to get to the top as I was and we all moved quickly through the line. From there I was sent to will call since I needed to pick up my tickets. Those who already bought and had their tickets in hand were sent directly to the elevators to the top. The will call line was extremely short and quick for me, but for your own convenience I would suggest buying your ticket ahead of time.
Finally, it was my turn to board the elevator to head up the 80th floor. This was a 55 second elevator ride and even though that may seem short, the elevator felt like it was climbing floors at an extremely fast rate and also that it was just never going to end. Upon arrival to the 80th floor, to my surprise I still wasn’t at the observation deck. I entered into a room that reminded me of a small museum. It displayed pictures and all the history behind the Empire State Building. I want to give you the chance to discover and explore the Empire State Building yourself, but I’ll give you this one fact just in case all your hopes and dreams come true one day and you are on Jeopardy and need to know- The Empire State Building was built in 1931.
After learning the history of the building and looking at historical photos from the building being built, it was time to head up 6 more stories to the observation deck. Here, I was given the option of waiting for the elevator or taking the stairs. I decided to take the stairs to switch it up a little from the previous elevator ride. Don’t do that. I’m not sure if it was the thin air or they just lied and I climbed about 20 stories because when I arrived at the top, I was extremely winded and felt like I had just ran a marathon.
That feeling actually lasted long, and not because of the stairs, but because I immediately stepped out onto the most breath-taking panoramic views I have ever seen. The deck was huge and wrapped around the entire building. I took time on each side to take priceless pictures of downtown first. This included the Brooklyn Bridge, The Freedom Tower, and The Statue of Liberty (which looked about the size of an ant). On the East Side, I decided to stick my camera through the grate and take a picture of the streets below me. Again, don’t do that. I almost dropped my camera and that could have been the one thing to ruin the trip.
I then made my way over to the North side and over looked uptown and Central Park. Since it was such a clear day, I could see all the way to the Bronx and beyond. I even saw the Top of the Rock observation deck and pointed and laughed because I was higher than them. Just kidding. What I actually did was look out over The Hudson River into New Jersey and New Jersey didn’t even look that bad. I mean, the armpit of America looked good from the top of the Empire State Building and that’s saying something. (I’m from New Jersey by the way).
After spending time taking in all the amazing views and after coming to the realization that I could not live up there, I headed back inside. Of course, I chose the elevator back down to the 80th floor to take a walk through the gift shop. After looking through the entire store I concluded that all the t-shirts, magnets, glasses, and posters were reasonably priced. They offered a variety of designs and colors in everything they sold, which I liked.
I took the 55 second elevator ride back down to the lobby on the first floor. In those 55 seconds I realized that the observation deck exceeded all my expectations. This wasn’t just another view of New York City. This was all of New York City and surrounding areas all at once, but without the chaos and noise. It is hands-down, a can’t miss.
To pre-purchase tickets for the Empire State Building and skip the line in the beginning, visit our website now: Empire State Building Tickets
Reviewed by Megan Ryan