We made our way through the entrance on 49th street directly to the lifts. Although our pre-booked timed tickets were supposed to be a queue-free passport, there was still a line ahead for security scanning. But it was moving fast.
Booking tickets in advance is highly recommended and can be done on line, by phone or at the box office. It is worth mentioning that even if you opt for one of the numerous ”city passes” promising line skipping, you will still need to get hold of a ticket.
Entry to Top of the Rock operates under a ”timed” ticket scheme, so if you just walk-in they simply book you on the next available slot, which can be a few hours later. And don’t even think about a non-timed ticket, unless you are an early riser (the first lift goes up at 8 a.m.), in which case I admire your zest and energy, but no thanks!
Another advantage of booking ahead is that you can choose your time slot. And if you choose wisely and arrive, for example, half an hour before sunset, you will not only enjoy the stunning panorama of New York by daylight, but also catch the first lights shimmering in the dusk. And, as the night progresses, the lights become brighter and brighter until the city glows in the dark, bathing the horizon in a gold sparkling light, as far as the eye can see.
Once in the lift, we reached the first level of the observation deck on the 67th floor, in a matter of seconds. From there on, there are two more levels reachable through escalators and stairs. Whereas the first two are protected by large glass panels – handy in windy weather – the top level is completely open, giving a magnificent, unobstructed 360° view.
That’s where it downed on me that, contrary to the common saying, it is not lonely at the top. What actually happens is that you have to elbow, duck and push your way to the good spots, by-passing heads, cameras and tripods, all of them fighting for the best snapshot. But once you manage, the view is breathtaking.
Behold the human capacity for resourcefulness, creativity and ingenuity that created this amazing urban landscape:
(Most of the) images by Konstantinos Implikian, save for a couple of mine. Easy to distinguish: besides being a better photographer than I ever will be, Konstantinos’ cell phone boasts a camera far superior to my compact Sony.
New York, 13th June 2014