I did the observation deck of the Empire State Building on my first morning in NYC and was disappointed with the lack of visibility and how crowded it was on the observation deck (5 people deep to get to the edge to take a photo). I ended up going to the Top of the Rock that same night and it took my breath away.
Thankfully I'd managed to make the last elevator up and there was hardly anybody there so I had the luxury of taking my time to get my shots (lots of great panoramics), especially the obligatory selfies which are a necessity when you travel alone!
Whilst I understand the appeal of the Empire State (and lets face it you can't visit NYC without going there), Top of the Rock is definitely my recommendation for nighttime viewing :-)
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