Not that there is any lack of vantage points in New York, but one of the best must without doubt be from the top of the Empire State Building. The queues here can be very long in the high season, so a good tip should be to come here when the number of tourists is at its lowest.
If you come in the tourist season, try to be here early in the morning or in the afternoon. Out of season you can also risk encountering queues, but usually the wait is much shorter.
Empire State Building is located at 350 Fifth Avenue, between 33rd and 34th Streets. Here is also the entrance and the big lobby.
The lobby is three stories high and features an aluminium relief of the building. From here you can find your way to the elevator that takes you up to the observation deck.
There is actually two observation decks here, the main deck is located on the 86th-floor and offers 360 degree panoramic views of the city. A much smaller deck is located on the 102nd floor. You must purchase a separate ticket for this.
As I said, the queues at the busiest season is legendary. First you have to stand in line to get into the building, then to take the elevator up from the lobby, then to buy a ticket (it is highly recommended to buy tickets on the internet before you arrive), a new line for security check, queuing to the second elevator and finally a queue to get out of this elevator and on to the observation deck.
Apparently there is more money to be made in selling tickets to the observation decks than what comes in from renting office space in the building. No wonder they try to squeeze as much people through as possible…
The Empire State Building was completed in 1931, and was the first skyscraper with more than 100 floors. It is built in Art Deco style, and was for a long time the tallest building in the world. The building was named after the nickname of the State of New York, The Empire State.
On a nice clear day the long wait and large crowds is well worth the trouble. Manhattan is literally at your feet. I came here last February and had no difficulty to walk around the deck and relatively undisturbed take my photos. It was of course a little cold in the winter, but the air was clear and the visibility excellent.
See more of my images from New York City.