Day Two of our mom and teen girls New York City getaway started with a cab ride to the Empire State Building. Opened in 1931, the building screams art deco from the moment you enter the gilded lobby to the classic elevators and the 102nd-floor glass and steel aerie that had us looking for King Kong. Measuring 1,454 feet to the top of the spire, it remains the third tallest building in the United States.
We had heard about the lines that can stretch for hours, but when we arrived near 10 am on a hazy weekday morning there were no lines to be found. We breezed up to the 86th floor which was busy but reasonable. Of course, this was the same day that President Obama was also in town, so perhaps that discouraged some tourists. We did get a bird’s eye view of a NY City Police helicopter that buzzed by and hovered for a while to check out the crowd. Apparently this is normal in New York.
At 1,050 feet above the street, the outdoor 86th floor observatory offers a 360 degree view of the city. We were told you can see for many miles on a clear day but we were only able to catch a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty and the high rises on the New Jersey side of the river through the haze. The staff are very helpful and know their stuff, but the view is the main attraction. We did not feel any pressure to rush our visit and enjoyed the views from every angle.
We decided to spend the extra $15 a person to venture up to the much smaller 102nd floor viewing area, but were somewhat disappointed. It is very small and there is no exterior access and while we were up higher it wasn’t nearly as exciting. We’d recommend you save your money.
On the way back down from the 102nd floor we stopped to take in a few more views from the 86th floor. Our teens agreed they were glad we put this on the itinerary as they had never been up in a building this tall, and certainly never able to stand outside at this height. We recommend you visit on a day when you can get outdoors, it would have been much less rewarding a visit if it had been too cold or wet to take our time enjoying the view. The Empire State Building offers several ticket options. Our earlier NYC visit planning article has the details.
This article is part of a series about our mom and teen girls getaway to New York City. You can visit our Teens Take New York City summary page to discover our full itinerary and find links to other articles about our visit.
We also included a link to this post on Photo Friday at Delicious Baby. Stop by to finds lots of other cool travel photos and blogs.