From the ruins, lonely and inexplicable as the sphinx, rose the Empire State Building and, just as it had been a tradition of mine to climb to the Plaza Roof to take leave of the beautiful city, extending as far as eyes could reach, so now I went to the roof of the last and most magnificent of towers. Then I understood — everything was explained: I had discovered the crowning error of the city, its Pandora's box. Full of vaunting pride the New Yorker had climbed here and seen with dismay what he had never suspected, that the city was not the endless succession of canyons that he had supposed but that it had limits — from the tallest structure he saw for the first time that it faded out into the country on all sides, into an expanse of green and blue that alone was limitless. And with the awful realization that New York was a city after all and not a universe, the whole shining edifice that he had reared in his imagination came crashing to the ground.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
I love that quote.
The big dilemma I always have when I bring people around the city is where to go to get the view. For years, I was lucky to have an office on the 53rd floor of a sky scraper, with great views of the ESB and downtown. It was free, there were no lines, and I could always have a great party on the 4th of July for the fireworks. Since I don't have that anymore, I have to find a new place to take people. You can't come to New York without putting it all in perspective form a high-up place.
The Empire State Building is classic. The lines can be insanely long though- an hour+ to get a ticket, then another hour+ to get into the elevator. It's worth doing at least once and because it's open until 2am, you can have it to yourself late at night. Unfortunately, your view from the top means that you can't actually see the ESB.
A few years ago, the GE building in Rockefeller Center decided to cash in on their view. It's about the same price and not quite as high up, but it's much less crowded with very little waiting involved. Not only do you get unobstructed views of Central Park, you get to see the ESB as well. Winning situation.
We went on a sunny Sunday in late morning and had a very peaceful hour on the tippy-top observation deck, just drinking in the views.
I used to work in the tall building on the right with the three dark vertical stripes running the length. Waaay up on the tippy-top. I miss it, since now I just get a view of the boring grey concrete building across the street from me.
Afterwards, we did a very quick tour of the MOMA nearby. It's a huge, open, airy building packed with modern art masters.
I think I've only been there on previous visits in deep winter so I had never seen the sculpture garden before. It's a marvelous courtyard to sit around and relax. I didn't think to get a picture of it, but they have one of Picasso's nanny-goat sculptures. It's such a fun, quirky piece.
We lucked out weather-wise...it can get really hot, humid and miserable in summer with really crazy thunderstorms in the late afternoons. As per my usual, I'm planning on making as many escapes as I possibly can this summer out of town. Beaches and mountains and forest always seem much more appealing to me once the weather gets hot.