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Empire State Building, Top Of The Rock

New York
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Empire State Building, Top Of The Rock

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.

Durham, United...
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1. Re: Empire State Building, Top Of The Rock

I must admit from all the feedback on this forum we've already decided that we'll only 'do' the TOTR during our first visit in May and hearing your first hand account Sasharoon has only cemented the decision. Thanks for your honest appraisal.

London, United...
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2. Re: Empire State Building, Top Of The Rock

Me and my family went to New York in March and chose the TOTR, over The Empire State, this also was the right decision, TOTR is fantastic. Everthing about it is great!

Durham
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3. Re: Empire State Building, Top Of The Rock

I do think it's sad cause for me the Empire State Building was one of the 'landmark' buildings I really really wanted to see. When I first went up in Nov 04 it wasn't so bad and I'm so glad I've done it but you're right TOTR is a far far nicer experience from start to finish. ESB really need buck their ideas up.

Newcastle Upon...
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4. Re: Empire State Building, Top Of The Rock

I am going to NY next week and I was advised to do TOTR instead of ESB, however, rather than pay to go to the top my friend went to the cocktail bar on the floor below which costs nothing apparently,but of course you do have to pay for your drinks, but you would pay that in admission, so I think I will give that a go.

Perth, Western...
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5. Re: Empire State Building, Top Of The Rock

What are these pictures that you're referring to?

Are they like souvenir photos which they try to get you to buy?

It's really disheartening to hear you having to deal with a bad attitude just because you didn't want the photo.

Durham
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6. Re: Empire State Building, Top Of The Rock

Yes HM, they're just over priced souvenier (sp) pics.....at the TOTR you just say no thanks and that's it but last time at the ESB we had to pretty much argue not to have them taken! Like I said, such a shame.

Perth, Western...
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7. Re: Empire State Building, Top Of The Rock

I really dislike posed souvenir photos, and I can't stand those souvenir plates people have made up when they visit parts of Asia that have their photo printed on.

Colorado
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8. Re: Empire State Building, Top Of The Rock

"ESB really need buck their ideas up"...sounds like this what they're trying to do...get a buck here, a buck there...

Unless my daughter really wants to go up ESB, we'll stick to ToTR only.

Thanks for the honest assessment.

Phoenix
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567 posts
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9. Re: Empire State Building, Top Of The Rock

I agree about the ESB-I thought it was an annoying tourist trap. Too crowded and full of stinky foreigners and they kept trying to upsell you to the stupid Tony the Cabbie audio tour.

Kentucky
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10. Re: Empire State Building, Top Of The Rock

When I go to the TOTR website to make a reservation/purchase, the

times to choose from start at 3:00 PM whereas the website says they open at 8:00 AM or near there.......

Is this an error on their website or are they saying everything before 3:00 PM is sold out??