I love the Empire State Building and I could take photos of it from every vantage point imaginable; from uptown, downtown, from Jersey, Long Island, from Dumbo with the arch of the Manhattan Bridge and so on. I probably have more photos of it than any other building in the city. The Chrysler building is my favourite building in the city but the ESB comes up most on my phone. 


The history

It’s an iconic building, a 102-story Art Deco skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan, on 5th Avenue between 33rd and 34th street. It is one of only about 40 buildings in Manhattan that has its own zip code.. It was designed by Shreve, Lamb & Harmon and completed in 1931. The building has a roof height of 1,250 feet (380 m) and stands a total of 1,454 feet (443.2 m) tall, including its antenna. The design for the Empire State Building was changed fifteen times until it was ensured to be the world’s tallest building. Construction started on March 17, 1930, and the building opened thirteen and a half months later on May 1, 1931. It’s a beauty, inside and out, it’s a NYC landmark and as such deserves all the respect and love it gets.


The view

The view from the ESB is magical, as any other view of the city from a high vantage point, it’s stunning and fascinating every way you turn. You notice the incredible difference between the lower Manhattan and the financial district, you have unobstructed views of the beautiful One Word Trade and on the other side you can see the Rockefeller centre and take in some of those sky scraping midtown views. But the one view you won’t have is my favourite view of all. It’s, ironically, the view of the Empire State Building and that view can only be captured so beautifully from the Top of the Rock. 




The history

30 Rockefeller Plaza is the building where the Top of the Rock observatory is and is part of the incredible Rockefeller centre; a large complex consisting of 19 commercial buildings covering 22 acres (89,000 m2) between 48th and 51st Streets, facing Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan.

Work on the steel structure of the RCA Building started in March 1932, and the building’s structural steel was up to the 64th floor by September of that year. The famous photograph Lunch atop a Skyscraper was taken on September 20, 1932, during the construction of the 69th floor. The RCA Building was opened mid may 1933. 

30 Rockefeller Plaza is 872 feet (266 m) tall and anchors the entire Rockefeller Center complex. It was built as a single structure occupying the entire block between Sixth Avenue and Rockefeller Plaza. As an icon of the complex, 30 Rocks dramatic architecture, with its limestone facade and Gothic-inspired four-leafed spandrels,influenced the design of the rest of the complex.


The view

It’s often considered the best panoramic view of the city, mostly because of the impressive view of the Empire State Building and midtown Manhattan but also because it is the only observatory with views of Central Park. You can take in the magical view of Central Park and really see how it’s perfectly framed by UES, UWS and Harlem. The incredible view of the ESB and the One World Trade in the distance as well as Times Square and the Chrysler Building are unparalleled. With a lot of new construction in the midtown area the view from the Top of the Rock changes almost every year but always remains one of the most impressive views of one of the most fascinating cities you can see. 


So here is the final breakdown that might help you decide on which one to visit. 


Empire State Building

  • Iconic art deco building
  • Incredible views of lower Manhattan and One World Trade
  • View of the Rockefeler centre


Top of the Rock

  • Unparalleled views of the Empire State Building and One Word Trade in the distance
  • Only observatory with Central Park Views
  • A NYC Landmark with so much history



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