I have been looking forward to the opening of the “Top of the Rock” for a long while. As soon as the online ticketing system became available, I got the tickets for the first day, and the first sunset that this observation platform became available to regular shmoes like me.
The entrance, which is located in the underground concourse is decorated with this fancy Swarovski Crystal chandelier. Top of the Rock chose two somewhat strange marketing alliances – with Swarovski and with Target.
The elevator ride to the observation platform features a ceiling-projected movie of cheesy historical images and newsreels. Though that you can see exposed and lighted elevator shaft which is much more impressive.
Once you get to the multistoried observation platform, you start to notice and and photograph hundreds of interesting things otherwise unseen from the ground. The rooftop of the building where you work.
The cross of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
You get to stand basically face to face, on the same level with the spire of the Empire State Building, only separated by the annoying bulletproof glass. The spaces between panes allow you to take decent pictures, and the top setbacked platform does not even have the glass. That’s where you can entertain your superhero daydreams – by quietly standing there, of course, and not by jumping off of it.
Besides the glass and the loud tourists, the only annoyance that I can name is a little bit of sewage smell. I am pretty sure that came from the plumbing vent that you can see in this picture.
Overall, I have to say that the whole experience was superior to the Empire State Building observatory. Online ticketing interface allows you to buy tickets for specific time, avoiding lines (the guy who coded the ticketing system even dropped me an email on my previous entry). You get to see the Empire State Building itself, as well as views of Central Park. The top deck without the glass is very cool.
Unfortunately I forgot my own camera and had to borrow co-worker’s Nikon, so I’ll be back with my own gear, the long lens and possibly a tripod. One unsettling thing about Top of the Rock, though, is that the ticket (but not the website) states that you are only allowed to take pictures for non-commercial purposes. That’s not very nice. I did see a lot of people with tripods and fancy cameras though – hopefully they are not going to hassle me.