I've said before that being a member of this forum has helped me appreciate my city more. This past weekend I had my sister visiting from Florida with her husband and 16 year old step son. Her husband was here once as a child and it was her step son's first visit to NYC.
Saturday afternoon I took them to TOTR. I had printed out the discount coupons recently and of course they were home.
We got there at about 4PM and there was no wait. This was my first time there so it was just as exciting for me as for them. The view from the top was spectacular.I was really impressed and completely enjoyed going.
Since we had gone to TOTR during the day we decided that we'd go to ESB at night. Sunday night we headed over at about 10PM. The outside observation deck was closed due to falling ice. We decided to go up any way and appreciate the view from inside.
I've been to ESB many times, the last time probably about 10 years ago. I have to say this time was disapointing. Particuarly in comparison to TOTR.
My biggest complaint at ESB was a hard sell for the audiotours and for a picture on the way up. Entering TOTR there was a point along the walk in where they stopped briefly to take peoples pictures. This was fine. Entering the ESB there were at least 3 people along the way handing out flyers for the audiotour. When one was being handed to me I asked what it was and was told " it's for the audio tour, how else will you know what you are looking at?"
Considering I grew up here and have lived in NYC for 18 years I pretty much knew what I was about to look at. I didn't mind being asked, I minded being bombarded.
We then took the elevator to the 80th floor where they make you get off to go to the connecting elevator. That's fine, But the connecting elevator is in the same elevator bank, about 15-20 feet away. instead they make you walk around the entire floor to wait to have your picture taken. Then walk around to come out on the other side again to the same elevator bank we'd just left.
Waiting on line we realized we were waiting because they were taking everyones pictures. I excused us and explained we didn't want the picture and walked through. We were met with a bit of attitude from the picture takers.
Finally we made it to the elevator banks and up to the 86th floor. knowing the outside was closed we were prepared to be looking trough windows. however the windows were so dirty from people leaning on them it made looking out difficult. Also, two of the four sides were so narrow it made it difficult for people to walk through as others looked out.
On our way back down we again had to get out at the 80th floor to get the connecting elevators, this time we had to walk around the entire floor in the opposite direction to pick up the pictures we hadn't take before. Again attitude from the staff when we explained we hadn't taken the picture, and then finally the elevator to the ground floor.
I love NYC and I think there are things that every visitor should see.
In the past I have always loved going up in the ESB. I still think it is something that people coming here should see. However, I think if people are coming and are only going to do one I'd suggest TOTR. I'd also say if anyone goes to the ESB and the outside deck is closed save your money. IMHO it really isn't worth going up otherwise.