A view over Manhattan or looking across the water at Manhattan is truly awe inspiring. There’s no where else in the world with so many amazing buildings in such a small space. And it’s impossible to look over these buildings and not imagine the mutitude of activities going on in them that are the life of New York City.
So how do you get a good look in a way that helps you to truly appreciate it’s magnificence. Well the 2 tried and true ways are to go to the observation deck of the Empire State Building at 350 5th ave, (floors 86 and 102) or to the observation decks in The Rock at 30 Rockefeller Center (floors 67, 69 and 70). Both charge $29 for an adult and $18 for a child.
For both you need to allow lots of time, there are queues that are long and slow moving. For the Empire State Building you can book online and that eliminates 1 of the 3 queues. The other trick is to go really early or late at night. It is open from 8am to 2am each day. The Rock allows you to book ahead which is also a good idea and going early or late works well there too to avoid big crowds. If you go during the day at peak times with children, take along food and activities to avoid their restlessness at the long waits.
If you prefer a free view of Manhattan there are a number of alternatives that don’t give you quite the up in the clouds view from a really high space but which give you a very good view nonetheless.
The Brooklyn Heights Promenade: this runs from Brooklyn Heights to Brooklyn Bridge Park and gives you great views of the Statue of Liberty, the Manhattan skyline and Brooklyn Bridge. See the video to appreciate what this promenade has to offer.
The Manhattan Bridge: this has a pedestrian way and gives you great views of Lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge. Enter from Chinatown and walk on the south side of the bridge for the best view. It’s also best to do it at peak times, later in the evening is not quite so safe because there are so few people around. The pedestrian way is under the traffic not over it as it is with the Brooklyn Bridge.
The Brooklyn Bridge Pedestrian Way: A famously scenic 1.1 mile walk, over the top of the traffic with the best view of Manhattan if you do it from the Brooklyn end of the bridge. Take the A or C Train to High St/ Brooklyn Bridge stop and then follow the signs. It’s a wide walkway and you’ll have lots of walkers, runners and cyclists keeping you company.
The Staten island Ferry: completely free, you catch the ferry from the Whitehall Terminal at 4 South Street at the corner of Whitehall Street. Great views of the Statue of Liberty and and Lower Manhattan skyline coming and going.
If you’re prepared to spring for the cost of entry to the Metropolitcan Museum of Art you make you way to the Mets Roof Garden Cafe and Martini Bar. You get to it via the elevator located in the Europen Sculpture and Decorative Arts galleries and it’s on the fifth floor. Fabulous views over Central Park and the wonderful buildings surrounding it. And horrors, if you go in the evening, (it closes at 8.15pm) you have to put up with a sunset and the tempatation of a few delicious cocktails. It’s a hard life but…..