Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Empire State Building: Open Late

One of the best parts of New York is the fact that everything's open late — and not just bars and restaurants.

The other night after seeing a movie (my mother-in-law was watching the kids), Kelly suggested a trip to the top of the Empire State Building.

It was almost 11 o'clock at night — not a time you associate with visiting landmarks. (The hours for federal landmarks are especially poor right now, since they're mostly not open at all.) But it turns out that the Empire State Building is open until 2 a.m.

The great thing about a late-night visit: much-shorter lines. Within about 20 minutes, we were whooshing up toward the 87th floor at 1,400 feet per minute.

The view from top is great, though a lot of sights are probably easier to see by day. The Statue of Liberty, for instance, was barely visible and One World Trade Center is a distant obelisk.

The view downtown.

The views of Midtown are more striking. Still, the vantage point is similar to what you get from the 30 Rock observation tower.

The Chrysler Building, Citigroup Center and other Midtown sights.

The best part may be the view when you look straight up at the building's art deco spire.

It's often said that the Chrysler Building is New Yorkers' favorite skyscraper, but seeing the Empire State close up — lit up like the lab of a mad scientist — is hard to beat.