The Cool Side of New York


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North America » United States » New York » New York » Manhattan
July 27th 2012
Published: July 28th 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

Top of The RockTop of The RockTop of The Rock

The view south from the Top of The Rock.
Given the intense two days that we had just had, we decided to take it a bit easier today, so the kids spent a bit of time in the pool and we made sure that there was nothing booked, so we were under no pressure to be at any particular place at any particular time.

Once we were ready, we headed to the Top of the Rock, which is essentially the viewing platform at the top of the Rockefeller Center. The New York City Passes allowed us to skip the queues for the tickets, which was excellent. Then, rather than queuing for the lifts, the tickets gave a fixed time window. Much more civilised. Our time was after about an hour, so we looked round a few shops and had something to drink. This was my first ever visit to a Starbucks and, coincidentally, it is also going to be my last ever visit to a Starbucks. Overpriced, overrated and over-complicated in my view.

The Top of the Rock was excellent – not too crowded and in the open air. There were fantastic views of the Empire State Building and midtown in one direction and Central Park in the
Time SquareTime SquareTime Square

Flag and taxi in Time Square.
other. The Chrysler Building blocked by that hideous ex-Pan Am, now Met Life building unfortunately.

We then walked down to Time Square and looked round a few most shops.

On the way there we met some rappers who were selling their CDs. My son was absolutely thrilled as he had met, had his photo taken with and got some CDs signed by some genuine gangster rappers from a genuine New York ghetto. He changed his Facebook profile photo at the first chance he got.

I dread to think what the lyrics are going to be like on these CDs however.

There was a guy asking for money in Time Square. But rather than going through the pretence of those in London who want some money for “a cup of tea”, he had a sign that made it quite clear that it was to buy “weed”.

There is a massive bowling alley near Time Square so we went there for a game. This has to be the coolest bowling alley we have ever been to. Lots of music and video screens. It apparently has 50 lanes, but it is split into a number of small areas
Empire State ViewEmpire State ViewEmpire State View

A night-time view from the 86th floor of the Empire State Building.
of about five lanes each, so it actually felt quite small.

Next we had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. The waiter, who had hair like Chad out of High School Musical, was probably the coolest waiter we have ever had.

The CD sellers are cooler in New York and the beggars are cooler in New York, the bowling alleys are cooler in New York and the waiters are cooler in New York.

It was starting to get late, but as we went to the top of the Rockefeller Center in the day, we wanted to go to the top of the Empire State Building at night. The passes also covered something called the New York Skyride, which is at the bottom of the Empire State Building, so we tried that as well. It was ok, given that it was free, but I don’t think I would have paid the $33 that was on the tickets for it.

The passes again allowed us to skip the queues to buy tickets, which was a huge benefit given how long they looked. We did need to queue for security and the lifts of course. There was also the usual photo that you have to have taken before you visit anything in America (also including the Rockefeller Center and our earlier twilight boat cruise). I think I moaned about this last time we were in America, but I still don’t get why you would want pictures where the background had been added afterwards. Why not take it to the full extreme and you could get pictures like these from all over the world without ever leaving your home town. Here we are with a false background of the Empire State Building, the Sydney Opera House, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the dark side of the moon etc. etc. etc.

For some reason, the lift only went to the 80th floor. You then had to get another lift to the 86th floor viewing level. Those queues were quite long, but there was also the option to take the stairs so most of us did that.

The views at the top were fantastic, but it was quite crowded and very difficult to get to the front to have a look or take some photos.

Despite the causal intentions for the day, it turned out to be a late finish.

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