Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Midtown Manhattan's *Other* Observation Deck

The observation deck at the top of the Empire State Building is one of New York's biggest tourist attractions and the setting for countless movies (well, maybe not countless — the official Empire State Building website puts the number at 105).

But this post isn't about that. On Monday we went to the top of 30 Rockefeller Center, a storied building in its own right, but not one that gets a lot of Hollywood attention (however, it was featured in 138 episodes of "30 Rock").

If you visit the roof of 30 Rock, which they call "Top of the Rock," you'll hear a long narration about how the Rockefeller family financed the construction of the complex at great risk to themselves — all so they could shuck to tourists about their accomplishments 80 years later.

The views from the top are quite impressive, especially considering you're only on the 70th floor (the Empire State Building's main observation deck, in contrast, is on the 86th).

A view of Midtown East, including the Bloomberg Tower and (farther out) Queens. Photos courtesy of Papa Jeff.

Central Park.

The Empire State Building, with One World Trade Center rising in the distance.

Still, a trip to the Top of the Rock isn't cheap. An adult ticket is 27 bucks. In fact, the price is $2 more than a ticket to the Empire State Building's observation deck.

How in the world does the shorter and less iconic building get away with charging more?

Well, my mom had a pretty good explanation: It's the one that gives you a view of the Empire State Building.