View Full Version : Top of the Rock - Observation Deck atop GE Building in Rockefeller Center

November 11th, 2003, 08:53 AM

Rock to reopen roof deck
Empire State Building to get rival by Yule '05


Coming soon to midtown Manhattan - the battle of the observation decks, a faceoff between the famed tourist draw atop the Empire State Building and a fancy Art Deco deck at Rockefeller Center that's been closed for 17 years.

And to mix it up further, the new owner of another famous landmark, the General Motors Building, is thinking about opening an observation center on the roof of his skyscraper.

Rock Center landlord Tishman Speyer Properties plans to reopen the decks on the 69th and 70th floors of 30 Rockefeller Plaza. The tower, housing the studios of NBC, overlooks the skating rink at the landmarked office complex.

"We think we will be able to compete with the Empire State Building," said Robert J. Speyer, who's in charge of the renovation. "We have a strategic advantage because we have a tourist base that already comes to Rockefeller Center."

Speyer plans to restore the observation sites to their original beauty and add modern safety features like a transparent glass railing through which photos can be taken. Originally opened in 1933, the levels were built to look like the decks of cruise ships, and even had deck chairs.

Word of Speyer's plans provoked a feisty response from owners of the Empire State Building, whose 86th-floor observation deck drew 3.4 million visitors last year.

"Should the Rock Center observatory reopen, it will provide an excellent opportunity to view the world's greatest building, the Empire State Building," said a spokesman for the property. "Because of its substantially lower height and less central location, Rock Center will not offer a view anywhere near comparable to the one from the Empire State Building's observatory."

The Empire State Building also is threatened by possible competition from Harry Macklowe, who recently bought the GM Building for $1.4 billon. Sources said an observation deck is on his list of new ways to generate revenue at the building at 767 Fifth Ave., which has stellar views of Central Park across the street.

As for Rock Center's decks, they, too, have killer views of Central Park, plus the Hudson River, Times Square and the Chrysler Building. The landlord expects they'll make money.

"This is a smart business proposition," Speyer said.

He hasn't decided yet how much to charge visitors for tickets because the decks won't reopen for another two years - in time for the lighting of the Christmas tree downstairs in 2005.

Before the project can get under way, it needs the approval of the city Landmarks Preservation Commission. As a first step in the process, the proposal is scheduled for discussion at a Community Board 5 meeting on Thursday.

The landmarks commission will hold a hearing late this month or in early December.

View from past: Visitors to Rockefeller observation deck shortly after its 1933 opening.

November 11th, 2003, 09:02 AM
NY Times...

Repairs and Reopening Planned for a Rockefeller Center Roof


Seventeen years after Rockefeller Center closed the historic observation decks atop 30 Rockefeller Plaza, developers plan to renovate the space and reopen it to the public, pending city approval.

The decks, which first opened to sightseers in 1933, rise as high as 850 feet above street level, offering panoramic views from the top two floors of the Art Deco building known as the RCA and more recently the G.E. Building. They were closed in 1986 when expansion of the Rainbow Room on the 65th floor cut off elevator access to them.

"This was one of the great attractions of Rockefeller Center historically," said Robert J. Speyer, senior managing director of Tishman Speyer Properties, one of the center's owners. "It ought to be restored and reopened for the world to see."

If approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the project would be scheduled for completion in fall 2005, Mr. Speyer said. He would not comment on the cost of the project. A public hearing before the commission is set for Nov. 25.

"The whole thing is very exciting," said Robert B. Tierney, chairman of the commission. "Rockefeller Center is such a gem and has such historical significance that we will look at this very, very carefully."

Because the building is a historic landmark — one of about 1,200 in the city — any plan to renovate it must be found appropriate by the commission, Mr. Tierney said.

"We look at the history of the landmark, the aesthetics," he said. "All kinds of factors come into play."

The proposal calls for a ground-floor entrance on West 50th Street. Elevators would lead to the 67th floor, which would feature a combination of food and retail services, and an observation deck encased by windows, Mr. Speyer said.

From there, visitors would be able to take escalators to the open-air observation deck on the 69th floor, where they would be greeted with views of Central Park. They would then be able to climb the stairs or take an elevator up a floor to another open deck for a 360-degree view that includes the Empire State Building, Times Square and the Hudson River.

The renovation plan includes restoring decorative limestone and cast aluminum fleur-de-lis panels, and installing new terra cotta tiles on some floors in the same size and color as the original tiles.

In recent years, the 67th floor was used as storage space, and the uppermost part of the building was closed.

"We are set to restore it back to its original use," Mr. Speyer said. "When you take over a landmark like Rockefeller Center, you want to strike a balance between restoration and innovation, and we think this plan threads that needle."

November 11th, 2003, 12:08 PM
Yay! Our unparalleled rooftop views are one of the city's biggest assets, mostly untapped. Hopefully this is the just the first of more lofty perches for us to enjoy.

November 11th, 2003, 04:10 PM
This is good. In the early 80's I took visiting family on roof deck tour of the City - started with the roof of my Columbia dorm, then Riverside Church, the (then) RCA Bldg, Empire State and finishing up at WTC. RCA was voted favorite. (My father thought WTC swayed too much!)

Are there any other high-up viewpoints open in the city today besides ESB?

November 11th, 2003, 04:30 PM
I'll be there!

This is candy! :shock:

November 11th, 2003, 05:24 PM
This is incredible! I've been disappointed with the few options for high-rise observation decks, so this is a dream come true. Plus, I laughed out loud at the response by the ESB's management! Very snappy come-back.

TLOZ Link5
November 11th, 2003, 05:26 PM
And the GM Building, also!

Now if CMP could reopen its observation deck, hopefully on the top floor and on the roof. It's centrally located in the Financial District and would offer great views.

The GE Building has wonderful views regardless. More of Central Park and uptown, right in the heart of Midtown.

November 12th, 2003, 05:19 AM
It would be really nice if the the observation gallery in the AIG Building (70 Pine) could be re-opened to the public. It's a very classy Art Deco gem with excellent views in every direction. Apparently plans for the City Bank Farmer's Trust Building (20 Exchange Place) included a 57th floor observation floor, which would have been equally alluring. And not to forget 40 Wall Street with former observation rooms in the pyramid on the 69th and 70th floors.

November 12th, 2003, 07:11 PM
TLOZ, I was unaware that CMP (Chase Manhattan Plaza) had an observation deck. In the late 80's I worked in the upper floors of that bldg. as a temp -- a paralegal on the Midnight to Morning shift. If important papers arrived from London then I was the gofer to place the distribution on each attorney's desk or chair. The views from their offices were mesmerizing, like Dorothy seeing OZ for the first time.

The unobstructed night-time view of Midtown reached from the Hudson to the East River and beyond. The bridges were like shimmering strands of greenish light connecting the boroughs across black voids. Manhattan could open serveral observation decks and have no difficulty finding tourists and skyline enthusiasts willing to pony up and pay.

TLOZ Link5
November 12th, 2003, 09:20 PM
CMP very much had an observation deck, but obviously it became obsolete when the WTC was finished. It was operational in the '60s; I was at my grandparents' house last Christmas, leafing through their old books, and I found a brochure about New York from the '60s. CMP's observation deck was featured.

November 12th, 2003, 09:51 PM
I believe the obs deck at Chase was made into a corporate meetings area with a company restaurant for executives.

TLOZ Link5
November 12th, 2003, 10:09 PM
I believe the obs deck at Chase was made into a corporate meetings area with a company restaurant for executives.

That's right. I doubt that it can be reopened as an observation deck, but consider the possibilities!

December 10th, 2003, 02:05 AM
The GE observation deck will be a serious competitor to ESB observation deck - the view of the Empire State is truly awe-inspiring.

The Empire State Building (http://www.wirednewyork.com/landmarks/esb/) in blue and green colors on the occasion of 110th Anniversary of the National Council of Jewish Women. The view from the 64th floor of the GE Building (http://www.wirednewyork.com/skyscrapers/ge/).

http://www.wirednewyork.com/landmarks/esb/images/empire_state_ge_8dec03.jpg (http://www.wirednewyork.com/landmarks/esb/)

December 10th, 2003, 11:24 AM
I wonder if FAO's tanking will speed up the decision to reopen GM's observation deck. They may need the added income, no?

December 11th, 2003, 06:16 PM
Does 60 Wall have an observation deck of any sort?

December 11th, 2003, 06:20 PM
Does 60 Wall have an observation deck of any sort?

No. Are you sure you don't mean 40 Wall?

March 3rd, 2005, 10:36 PM
when will it reopen?

March 4th, 2005, 12:37 AM
Daily News article on top stated by Christmas 2005.

March 11th, 2005, 02:20 AM
March 11, 2005
Somewhere Over the Rainbow Room

Deck chairs will no longer await visitors as if this were a front porch in the sky. The $3.50 admission charge is a thing of the past. (Try $14.) Those giant letters on the parapet now read "GE" instead of "RCA." And few New Yorkers will be able to look at the double void on the downtown horizon - just above the Grace Building, slightly to the right of Empire State - without remembering keenly what is not there.

But when the blanket of Central Park reddens this fall, there will be a familiar vantage from which to take it in. The observation roof atop 30 Rockefeller Plaza is going to reopen after a $75 million revamping.

Having closed as New York City's third highest observatory in May 1986, it will return as the second highest, through a circumstance that could not have been imagined then.

And it will return with a few extra features. "We don't want this experience to be just about the view," said Rob Speyer, a senior managing director of Tishman Speyer Properties, co-owners of Rockefeller Center with the Crown family of Chicago. "We want tourists to experience Rockefeller Center in an extraordinary way from the moment they arrive."

Visitors will know in advance what time they will be admitted. Their few minutes of waiting can be spent viewing exhibits that trace the history and construction of the center, including documentary films, photographs and an original wooden model on which 30 Rock stands more than eight feet tall.

Then visitors will board elevators with glass ceilings and watch the ascent along illuminated shafts to the 67th floor, where they will find indoor observation areas. Escalators will take them higher yet, to outdoor terraces on the 69th floor, shielded from the wind by new eight-and-a-half-foot-high glass barriers.

But the 70th-floor summit, 850 feet above the street, will still be completely open to the elements, commanding a 360-degree perspective interrupted only by an 18-foot sphere at the west end that houses weather-watching radar apparatus.

From this spot in May 1936, New Yorkers witnessed the arrival of the dirigible Hindenburg after its 60-hour voyage from Germany, at the outset of regular trans-Atlantic service that would end a year later with the Hindenburg's destruction. In July 1944, on a triumphal visit as the tide of World War II was changing, Gen. Charles de Gaulle surveyed New York from this spot, asking a French-speaking "Centerette" guide to point out Harlem, Central Park, Fifth Avenue and Coney Island.

Coney Island is still visible, marked on the southern horizon by the T-shaped profile of the Parachute Jump. Near the northern horizon, the Tappan Zee Bridge can be glimpsed at a turn in the Hudson River. Even during the snowstorm on Tuesday, there was a majesty to this place, lost in a howling whiteness through which Midtown's familiar spires and plateaus were recognizable only as ghostly gray shadows.

Tishman Speyer expects that the revamped observation roof - now styled Top of the Rock - will draw two million visitors a year, or 20 times as many as it did in 1986 when it was closed to accommodate an expansion of the Rainbow Room.

The Empire State Building observation deck, 200 feet higher and $1 cheaper, drew about 3.5 million visitors last year. Lydia A. Ruth, the director of public relations for the building, welcomed the prospect of a reopened observation roof at Rockefeller Center.

"It will be a great place to view the Empire State Building," she said.

Never as heavily trafficked as the Empire State observatory, the Rockefeller Center rooftop felt more like a sanctuary than a tourist attraction. Its lower elevation also gave visitors the appealing sense of being suspended among the pinnacles of the skyline, rather than above them.

In any case, it is fondly enough remembered or eagerly enough imagined that visitors to Rockefeller Center have never stopped asking after it. "I get that request every few hours," said Daniela Galli, the concierge for Rockefeller Center, who works at the main information desk in the lobby of 30 Rock, formerly the RCA Building, now the G.E. Building.

Seeing the revenue potential in restoring the observation roof and packaging it with other Rockefeller Center attractions like the skating rink, the NBC Studios and Radio City Music Hall, Tishman Speyer started planning Top of the Rock in the summer of 2001. The architect is Michael Gabellini of Gabellini Associates.

To isolate visitor traffic from the office tenants at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, a separate ground-floor entrance will be created on 50th Street. A curving stairway will connect this storefront space to the concourse below and mezzanine above.

"Critical to our plan," Mr. Speyer said, "is an advanced ticketing system where people will be able to buy - up to months in advance - a ticket for a specific time." He added, "There's no reason for anybody to stand in line more than 10 or 15 minutes." Tickets can be picked up or purchased in the concourse. The exhibits will be on the mezzanine. This three-level space was created by relocating tenants, buying some tenants out of their leases and waiting for other leases to expire.

Two former freight elevator shafts will be used for the new glass-topped cars that serve the observation roof directly and exclusively. On nights and weekends, two additional passenger elevators that are ordinarily used by office tenants will be given over to visitor traffic.

By extending some elevator shafts to the 67th floor, it was possible to reopen the rooftop to the public. The Rainbow Room expansion had cut off access to two small shuttle cars serving the observatory.

The 67th floor, twice the height of a typical floor (and therefore counted as the 68th floor, too), has been used in recent years to house machinery and ductwork. The boxing promoter Don King once had a penthouse office at one end in an aerie that will now be known as the Weather Room.

On the outdoor terraces, where the view speaks for itself, the idea is to recreate as closely as possible the original Art Deco ambience, Mr. Speyer said. Tishman Speyer will even bring back pedestal-mounted binoculars. And even though the arrival of visitors will be closely timed, there will be no limit on how long they can stay.

"We wanted to create enough space so that people can enjoy the view and head downstairs," Mr. Speyer said. "Or spend a lovely afternoon."

As part of the renovation project, two escalators were hoisted to the top of the building last weekend through an elevator shaft, in eight large and very heavy pieces. Jim Flood, a construction worker on the arduous job, emerged triumphantly at its conclusion.

"He came out of the shaft like a phoenix and lit a cigar," said Mr. Speyer, who watched the operation. "I've never seen a man who deserved a cigar more."

March 11th, 2005, 05:51 PM
Goood news! :) Ill have to go up once it opens!

TLOZ Link5
March 11th, 2005, 11:31 PM
As a certain loose, unemployed socialite named after a French hotel is known to say, "That's hot."

March 12th, 2005, 12:15 AM
Marseille Super-huit is unemployed? How sad! Or do you mean that Chicago la fille? ;)

June 26th, 2005, 07:23 PM
Great news it will reopen in a few months time!

Old brochure:

June 27th, 2005, 11:22 AM
When it will reopen the 102nd floor observatory of the Empire State Building?

June 28th, 2005, 12:16 PM
What does mean "on limited bases" ?

July 6th, 2005, 10:21 PM
Not to get off topic but I found out at emporis that 32 fell to their death off the 86th floor observatory at the ESB. That's awful and scary.

July 6th, 2005, 10:32 PM
[QUOTE=Law & Order]And because of them, they have to put up a see through barrier around the top.[/QUOTE

How will the barrier look like?

July 6th, 2005, 10:51 PM
Yeah me too. I hope this new deck can lessen the load of people at the esb because when i went up there there was a whole bunch of people there.

July 7th, 2005, 01:17 AM
Both 425 Fifth Avenue and 500 Fifth Avenue are ugly buildings. What were these people thinking?

July 7th, 2005, 02:47 PM
500 5th is handsome, I think.
425 is a bit tacky for 5th Ave.

July 19th, 2005, 03:56 AM
Images from the observatory




July 22nd, 2005, 11:29 AM
500 Fifth looks great from that angle.

August 15th, 2005, 05:22 PM
There have been a lot of pictures taken from the top. Is it open to the public or what? Just reporters? I was watching David Letterman for a second last night and they had a shot from the top.

web site http://www.topoftherocknyc.com/ says it is to open Nov 1st 2005

August 15th, 2005, 05:44 PM
I asked a security guard in 30 Rockefeller when it will open and he said the middle of September. Maybe thats when you can buy tickets. He was at the 50th Street Entrance too.

Press release :


Maybe the guard said so because tickets go on sale Sept. 1 ?
If it's really mid September, the webmaster needs a slap on the wrist for putting "Opens Nov 1st" in a 20pt. font at the top of the page ;)

In any case I hope that, since capacity is limited, getting tickets won't be too hard, I'll be in NYC again around October/November, and would *very much* like to visit this observatory :)

October 8th, 2005, 05:47 PM
Site shows $14.00 / person to go to the top. You reserve a time and are given a 15 minute window (15 people are allowed up in every window period).

Sounds like they've added some very cool high-tech stuff (crazy sounding elevators) before you get to the real show -- NYC !! -- from the top of the 70th Floor.

October 13th, 2005, 09:46 PM
October 12, 2005

New Rockefeller Center roof decks offer a 360 of NYC






When Rockefeller Center (http://www.topoftherocknyc.com/ODTStatic/site.htm) next month reopens its observation decks for the first time in two decades, visitors will get access to a nearly 360-degree panorama of New York, timed entry passes to eliminate lines, a look at the world's largest crystal chandelier, and possibly the city's best view of the Empire State Building.

Designed in the 1930s to evoke the look and feel of an ocean liner in the sky, the original art deco ornamentation has been preserved, including massive cast aluminum fleur-de-lis atop the skyscraper.

The 69th- and 70th-floor roof decks were originally open to the public when the building opened in 1933, but were closed after operators of The Rainbow Room decided in 1985 to expand the restaurant.

Beginning Nov. 1, the public will be allowed back on the observation decks of the building's top three floors. Visitors can purchase timed-entry tickets online, which will all but eliminate the need to wait in a line at Rockefeller Center. Walk-up tickets will also be available everyday at the 50th Street entrance.

Once ticketed, visitors can walk up three flights of a new spiral staircase built around the new Swarovski chandelier. The history of Rockefeller Center is detailed on the mezzanine level through multimedia exhibits. A large scale model of Rockefeller Center, previously housed at the Museum of the City of New York, will be on display. Kids can walk across a steel beam (safely surrounded by Plexiglas,) and look down at a streaming video of a construction site.

Once guests head to the express elevators, they'll leave all the history lessons behind. "When you get to the top, it’s all about the view," said Peter Dillon, director of marketing for Tishman Speyer, the building's co-owner.

The view is indeed spectacular, with Central Park to the north and the Empire State Building prominent to the south. On the east side there's the Chrysler building and Times Square in the west side. On clear days, the view extends 80 miles.

The observation decks are 20 feet wide, compared with the 8-foot-width of the observation deck at the Empire State Building, Dillon said. New telescopes have been installed on the 69th floor, and a small gift shop will open, but the original deck chairs have been removed. There is no seating on the top floors, but visitors are allowed to linger as long as they like. (But the building closes at midnight with the last elevator heading up at 11:30 p.m.)

The introductory price of $14 for adults is good through March 31; after that it rises to $17.50. Tickets can be purchased online (https://www.topoftherocknyc.com/ODTStatic/site.htm?/ODTInternet/Web/BuyTicket/CaptureTicket.aspx?Type=Guest). The entrance to Top of the Rock is located on W. 50th Street, between 5th and 6th avenues.

Posted by Amy at October 12, 2005 10:38 AM

®Copyright 2005, All Rights Reserved

TLOZ Link5
October 13th, 2005, 09:56 PM

October 13th, 2005, 10:46 PM
I'll give it a couple of days and then I'm up there ...

October 13th, 2005, 10:49 PM
Once ticketed, visitors can walk up three flights of a new spiral staircase built around the new Swarovski chandelier.

I happened to be walking down 51st St. today and they had just removed the covering over the windows at the new lobby...

The spiral staircase is pretty dramatic :D

This should be a blast !! :cool:

Athough I did just notice that the deck chairs have been removed :mad:

October 14th, 2005, 12:01 PM
If I'm not busy, I might consider it.

October 14th, 2005, 02:31 PM
I like that it is an open patio to the sky. At the WTC, we had those walkways around the edges. At ESB, we have the building in the middle. This will be a totally unique experience.

October 14th, 2005, 02:31 PM
^Yes, thrillingly exposed. I'm definitely going up as soon as I can.

October 18th, 2005, 08:49 PM
From marmos.de (http://www.marmos.de/):


October 18th, 2005, 09:22 PM
are they going to leave that low fence or are they going to put a fence up like the esb observation deck?

TLOZ Link5
October 18th, 2005, 11:04 PM
Looks like whoever took that picture went up in the late '90s. The Madison Belvedere, to the right of the Metropolitan Life Tower, is finished.

October 26th, 2005, 10:49 PM
I got a ticket for Tuesday. I may get one for night time also. It will be my first time, so I think I need both views...




A woman tours the Top of the Rock observation deck atop the General Electric Building in New York's Rockefeller Center, during a preview of the renovated space. The deck, closed since 1986, is scheduled to reopen to the public Tuesday Nov. 1, 2005. The Empire State Building dominates the Manhattan skyline, foreground center.


A woman photographs the view from the Top of the Rock observation deck atop the General Electric Building in New York's Rockefeller Center.


A tour descends the staircase surrounding the 35-foot-tall Swarovski "Joie" waterfall chandelier in the atrium lobby of the Top of the Rock in the General Electric Building in New York's Rockefeller Center.

TLOZ Link5
October 27th, 2005, 12:15 AM
This is excellent.

October 27th, 2005, 12:29 AM
The light show they put up last night was pretty in the clouds... and that glass wall is awesome.

October 27th, 2005, 09:34 AM
After the loss of the WTC deck, NY has been missing an alternative viewpoint to the ESB (not that there's anything wrong with it). I'll be going back up there soon also.

October 27th, 2005, 10:36 AM
Good article in Time Out New York this week. One of the interesting things it said was that there were 11 observationd decks open at one time. Visitor statistics were interesting too. This is on the to-do list.

October 27th, 2005, 11:50 AM
NY Newsday
October 27, 2005

Rockefeller Center outdoor deck reopens


The last time visitors could step out onto Rockefeller Center's outdoor deck, the World Trade Center still stood, the bouquet of spiky skyscrapers at Times Square were barely even seedlings and the crystalline Hearst Tower had not yet risen on West 58th St.

The view has altered, but in other ways the upper reaches of Rockefeller Center have reclaimed their past. The observation deck, which opened along with the rest of the building in 1933, was closed in 1986 to keep height-seeking tourists from tramping through the Rainbow Room. Two decades and $75 million later, the building's owner, Tishman Speyer, will reopen the Top of the Rock on Nov. 1 as a three-floor panoramic experience, preceded by an excessive multimedia experience.

The itinerary begins online, at www.topoftherocknyc.com, which sells timed tickets ($14 for adults, $12 for seniors, $9 for children), eliminating a line that would otherwise snake out past Radio City Music Hall. To keep tourists segregated from office workers, access is not through the gilded lobby, but around the corner, in a modest, gray-toned foyer on West 50th St. made grand by a gargantuan crystal chandelier. This mutant fixture hangs from a mezzanine down to the basement and is wrapped in a spiral staircase.

Upstairs is a waiting zone adorned with a poster-board timeline of Rockefeller Center and a muchness of digital distraction. A beam embedded in the floor bisects an animated screen that offers an ironworker's-eye-view of the tower under construction. The point is to offer the queasy experience of balancing 800 feet in the air. It sort of works.

An assortment of promotional videos soothes the passage towards the elevator, which is a thrill ride in itself; the trip is fast, the ceiling is glass and the shaft is fitted out with little purple lights that flit by as the cab rushes towards the 67th floor. As if all that weren't enough, a 54-second video history of the last 75 years flashes on the ceiling, complete with a roaring soundtrack.

The journey's overload is excused by the destination, Manhattan's most imperial view. The Empire State Building reaches higher of course, but its view lacks the Empire State Building -- whereas there it is, an Art Deco sibling rising an arm's reach away. Here, on the outdoor deck, 9-foot glass panels minimize the separation between the viewer and the sky. An upper level is even more exposed, making it a glorious urban aerie from which to watch the skyline change.

Copyright © 2005, Newsday, Inc.

October 29th, 2005, 10:36 AM
Top Of The Rock did a free "soft opening" to the public yesterday.

I am from the UK but was in New York for the last week. I was gutted when I found out that it was opening on November 1st - we flew back at 9:30 last night. Anyway, we were killing time at the Rockefeller yesterday afternoon, when I saw that the entrance was open. The staff were handing out free tickets to iron out any last minute problems.

Needless to say, I was over the moon. The views are spectacular to say the least. There are 3 viewing floors. 67 is almost completely inside wth a couple of glass walled areas outside. The 69th floor viewing is completely outside with glas walls again. The shots you see above are of the 69th. The top floor is smaller and only has a low stone wall. There is a completely unobstructed view uptown and downtown - east and west are somewhat blocked off depending on which floor you are on. The top photo is taken of the 69th floor from the 70th, so you can see there is no obstruction.

Needless to say the views are amazing. I can't imagine a better vantage point for Central Park and beyond, and obviously the view of ESB is amazing. The other treat is that many other midtown structures are visible from TOTR that cannot be seen from ESB. One of the few drawbacks is that there is no full view of the Chrysler due to the Met Life building.

The whole experience is much nicer too. There is no feeling of them trying to make a quick buck like there is with the ESB (although these are very early days).

If you are at all interested in the New York skyline or spectacular views then get there as soon as possible.

I may post a couple of pictures later but I am still pretty jet-lagged :o .

October 29th, 2005, 09:56 PM
sbj, thanks for the update. I went to the observation deck today, it was open, the tickets were $5, the view - to die for.

The entrance is on 50th Street, down the spiral staircase around crystal chandelier to buy tickets, there was no line for cashier. Next elevator one floor up, a circle around waiting area towards the area where visitors are arranged in 3 rows, according to the time stamped on the tickets. After a short wait watching video clips - a walk to elevators with a clear ceiling taking visitors to 67th floor. There are 2 small viewing areas on 67th floor, on the northeast and southeast corners of the building. Escalator one floor up takes visitors to the main viewing floor, along south, west, and north sides of the building. A viewing area on 69th floor was closed when I was there.

The observation deck will be open tomorrow, Sunday, from 10 am to 6 pm according to one source or from 11 am to 5 pm according to another source. The tickets will be $5.

This is a new top destination in New York City.

October 30th, 2005, 12:55 AM
Top of the Rock (http://www.wirednewyork.com/guide/observation/top_of_the_rock.htm) - the observation deck atop the GE building. 29 October 2005.

http://www.wirednewyork.com/guide/observation/observation_deck_ge.jpg (http://www.wirednewyork.com/guide/observation/top_of_the_rock.htm)

http://www.wirednewyork.com/guide/observation/sunset_4times_square_cruise.jpg (http://www.wirednewyork.com/guide/observation/top_of_the_rock.htm)

http://www.wirednewyork.com/guide/observation/observation_ge_esb.jpg (http://www.wirednewyork.com/guide/observation/top_of_the_rock.htm)

October 30th, 2005, 02:02 AM
down the spiral staircase around crystal chandelier to buy tickets, . . . Escalator one floor up takes visitors to the main viewing floor, along south, west, and north sides of the building. . .

Has anyone yet noticed whether all this is wheelchair-accessible? (The Top of the Rock web site doesn't address that topic). A houseguest of mine (who uses a chair) and I had drinks on the 65th floor last evening, and I'd love to take him up to the Observatory, but stairs and escalators are visit-killers.

October 30th, 2005, 02:21 AM
Great photos and thank Edward

October 30th, 2005, 05:24 AM
I'm definitely up for checking this out next week - it looks great!

Am I right in assuming that you get just 15 minutes on the deck before being shunted off?

I visited the Empire State a few years back and got some great sunset/dusk pictures - could someone suggest the best 15 mins for that please?

Check out my photos from previous visits here:

October 30th, 2005, 07:36 AM
In answer to a couple of points.

You are given a 15 minute timeslot for going up. There appears to be no restriction on how long you stay up for. I was up there for an hour - I would have been much longer had I not been flying out later that evening.

There are elevators to each floor. A direct one to 67 and then a further one to 69, 70 and the restrooms on 66. This would seem to make it wheelchair accessible and as you can see, the views are visible for a low height so that wouldn't be an issue either.

October 30th, 2005, 09:08 AM
http://img412.imageshack.us/img412/8996/69thfloor8uh.th.jpg (http://img412.imageshack.us/my.php?image=69thfloor8uh.jpg) http://img412.imageshack.us/img412/2669/70thfloor4uw.th.jpg (http://img412.imageshack.us/my.php?image=70thfloor4uw.jpg) http://img412.imageshack.us/img412/2309/downtown4py.th.jpg (http://img412.imageshack.us/my.php?image=downtown4py.jpg) http://img412.imageshack.us/img412/8291/uptown9qv.th.jpg (http://img412.imageshack.us/my.php?image=uptown9qv.jpg)

A few images from Friday. The first shot is the 69th floor complete with glass barriers. The second is the 70th with just a low wall.

October 30th, 2005, 11:23 AM
Has anyone yet noticed whether all this is wheelchair-accessible?

You can call them at 1-877-692-7625. I would assume it is. You take the stairs to the ticket line down, but after that you take an elevator up to the floor above ground level, where you actually board the fast elevator to the top. So the elevator that takes you to the observation could be taken from the ground floor of GE building.

As to the deck, although it is claimed to be on the 70th floor, the elevator guy presses button for 67, where there are two small observation areas. Most people take an escalator to the main deck on floor 68, but I imagine there might be elevators too.

October 30th, 2005, 11:29 AM
As to the deck, although it is claimed to be on the 70th floor, the elevator guy presses button for 67, where there are two small observation areas. Most people take an escalator to the main deck on floor 68, but I imagine there might be elevators too.

Thanks. We'll give it a test-drive. The second photo posted by SBJ above (of the top-most deck?) clearly shows an elevator.

October 30th, 2005, 11:35 AM
There appears to be no restriction on how long you stay up for.
I asked one of the attendants on the deck directly about that and indeed, you can stay as long as you like, the timed tickets are only for shuffling people to the elevators in organized manner.

The ticket system seems to be well designed - after you buy the ticket, you don 't have to stay in line, you can leave or sit in the waiting area until your time slot shows up on the display.

October 30th, 2005, 11:37 AM
Can tickets be purchased on site?

October 30th, 2005, 11:46 AM
I visited the Empire State a few years back and got some great sunset/dusk pictures - could someone suggest the best 15 mins for that please?
The last picture that I posted was taken at 5:50 pm - and that's before we changed the clock 1 hour this morning.

October 30th, 2005, 11:50 AM
Can tickets be purchased on site?Yes, you can purchase on site, however, potentially they could be sold out for the next several hours or even days. Since they have not even officially opened it is hard to predict how popular the place would be. The advantage of buying online is that you get exact time on your ticket, arrive at that time and do not have to wait.

October 30th, 2005, 01:58 PM
Yes, the 2nd photo is the top floor. One of the reasons I put it there was to show the elevator as well as the layout. That is not the elevator that comes from the ground. That stops at 67, the indoor observation area. There is a further elevator around the corner that services 66 (the restrooms),69 and 70 (seen in the photo). There is no floor 68 as 67 is double height.

October 31st, 2005, 02:50 AM
Yes, you can purchase on site, however, potentially they could be sold out for the next several hours or even days. Since they have not even officially opened it is hard to predict how popular the place would be. The advantage of buying online is that you get exact time on your ticket, arrive at that time and do not have to wait.
Thanks...I am hoping to get back soon, but plans are sketchy. I am sure to be back for the holidays, but others that wish to go with me, are not. If I end up going solo, I'll drop by in the morning and take what's available.

bohemian rhapsody
November 1st, 2005, 12:40 AM
I'm VERY happy that this has opened. I'm coming to New York on Wednesday, great timing.

The way they have the ticketing set up is pretty smart. I didn't really want to do the ESB since it seems like the crowds are pretty crazy....

looks cool.

November 1st, 2005, 11:26 AM
From Gothamist (http://www.gothamist.com/):









November 1st, 2005, 11:42 AM
This morning the Today Show did segment after segment ( 7AM - 9 AM ) from on Top of the Rock.

Fantastic shots. Tomorrow the msnbc.msn.com website should have video (they post the next day).

November 1st, 2005, 12:01 PM
I am going to visit ASAP; but first I will check in with Webcam3 to see what the current NYC visability conditions are. As I"ve said; this website is the best.

November 1st, 2005, 11:35 PM
This is a must see. By your ticket(s) ahead of time to save time. And
take a camera....

More pics from today

NOVEMBER 1, 2005











November 2nd, 2005, 01:07 AM
thank you for your photographs, superb, highly May that I visit the Top Of The Rock

November 2nd, 2005, 11:55 AM
More NY at NIGHT:

November 2nd, 2005, 12:46 PM

I have to make a test run. Visitors coming in over the holidays. I used to bring first-timers up to the WTC, and the ESB is a PITA.

I wonder if you can bring a small, unobtrusive tripod.

November 2nd, 2005, 01:05 PM
I just went to the TOTR last night and yes, the views are great and what is even better is that there is absolutely no rush! We stayed up for an hour and could have stayed as long as we liked. Only let down was that my camera froze up on me, but there are many Roc Employees on the different levels waiting to snap your photo for a mere $10. They've hired a very friendly staff and the experience as a whole is a great one.

Hopefully the trend continues and maybe one day someone smart will reopen the top of the Chrysler Building!

November 2nd, 2005, 01:08 PM
It was a GREAT experience. Three levels of handsome observation decks offer different and exceptional views with plenty of space and good circulation. I found the employees friendly, even at the metal detectors, and you are under no obligation to purchase anything beyond your ticket. You can bypass the lobby photo in the museum area, though you wait through three three-minute movies while in line for the elevator, but they're entertaining enough. The elevator ride is as a kick - well done.

The top level is the best for picture taking, at least at night. I wasted good batteries on the lower levels trying to get a shot through the glass - the upper level is mostly open.

I didn't see anyone with their own tripod, but I also didn't see anything saying you can't bring one. I wish I had one, it was windy and I just used the ledge.

There were two or three employees up there taking pictures for anyone who wanted themselves in front of the ESB, and they had tripods, but then they work there.

November 2nd, 2005, 01:39 PM
I wonder if you can bring a small, unobtrusive tripod.
I saw several people using tripods. That was during the preview phase, Saturday and Sunday, and I did not ask what's official policy.

November 2nd, 2005, 01:57 PM
I can't wait to visit this. Wonderful pics everyone.

November 2nd, 2005, 04:20 PM
I wonder if you can bring a small, unobtrusive tripod.

I saw quite a few up there. If you can make it through security, you can bring it.

November 3rd, 2005, 01:37 AM
Thanks to all who responded to my question about wheelchair access at the Top of the Rock. My friend and I explored it at sunset last evening, and I can report that the facility is 100% accessible (though not --yet-- friendly). Inadequate signage and an unevenly-trained or uninterested staff. (Me: "Can you tell me where the elevator to the top floor is?" Guide: "The escalator is over there." Me: "No, I'm asking about the elevator." Guide: "Sir, the escalator is over there. Get in that line. There is no elevator." Me: "You're telling me that there is no elevator to the top floor?" Guide: "Yes, I am, sir. The escalator is over there." Me: "How does someone with a wheelchair use the escalator?" Guide: "You didn't tell me that he belongs to you. [pointing to my friend] The elevator is over there on the right."

Other quibbles: Before they are allowed to board the second elevator to the top, all visitors are forced to endure a toxic film narrated by 3 airheads (Tom Brokaw, David Rockefeller and a Rockette) while standing in long lines, and the elevator back down from the Top discharges everyone in a subterranean gift shop. [The first 2 questions to Rock Center staff about the location of an elevator up to the street produced the same answer, "The Men's Room is there" (pointing).]

All that said, the views are stunning and unique and worth tolerating the inconveniences and affronts. One other note: With the opening of the Top, Rock Center has installed moving searchlights aimed out horizontally from just above the Rainbow Room level of the building. When we had drinks there last week, they were just above our heads; last night, just below our feet. Back at my apartment with its view of 30 Rock, they dance beautifully around the top of the building. A nice touch!

It was extremely windy and cold while we were there last night, and I lacked a tripod. Here's one photo that I took that I hope's not too blurry:

November 3rd, 2005, 10:40 AM
... With the opening of the Top, Rock Center has installed moving searchlights ...
I have found these searchlights annoying and it's hard to take a good picture at night.

November 3rd, 2005, 10:52 AM
Yes it is, they interfered with most of my pictures. Every so often they pointed straight up for a few moments and I could get a better shot off. But I assumed they aren't permanent, just a Grand Opening promotional beacon. (?)

November 5th, 2005, 08:56 AM
Especially at night the view looks great!

Do you guys prefer this one over the Empire State Building?


November 5th, 2005, 01:40 PM
The are pros and cons to both TOTR and ESB, but in general I'd say TOTR is superior.

It is better layed out and the viewing areas are much better designed. The unobstructed views from the 70th floor are the real difference though.

City Spire
November 6th, 2005, 11:19 AM
I haven´t seen any pics from the area between Bear Sterns and Citicorp, why is that?

November 7th, 2005, 02:40 PM
Thank to all for the pics...
I miss couldnt visit it this summer ..
Can anyone take a picture of the roofs of the street 46th? between 5th ave. y 6th ave? I've stayed there and i'd like to know if it's possible to see it from there.
Thank you.

I miss New York and I'll miss all my life.

November 7th, 2005, 05:04 PM
I haven´t seen any pics from the area between Bear Sterns and Citicorp, why is that?

That is the one side where all photos would have to be taken through glass.

City Spire
November 7th, 2005, 06:12 PM
That is the one side where all photos would have to be taken through glass.


November 9th, 2005, 01:18 PM
The official policy is no tripods, but they will allow you to bring one in. Maybe on a quiet day, you can talk a guard into allowing a few shots, but I doubt it. There were two staff photographers with tripods on the lowest level.

There are places to brace a camera and I didn't have the yips, so the shots were good. But you can't get a night panorama without a tripod.

http://img352.imageshack.us/img352/1889/totr010us.th.jpg (http://img352.imageshack.us/my.php?image=totr010us.jpg)

More photos (http://img352.imageshack.us/img_viewer_framed.php?loc=img352&image=totr099kg.jpg&gal=img352/3824/totr099kg.jpg)

November 9th, 2005, 01:38 PM
ZippyTheChimp les photos sont superbes (Very Great)

November 9th, 2005, 01:55 PM
NICE. That's the time to go, late afternoon/early evening.

Glad we get another vantage point to document the rising of the NYT and BOA towers, among the many other excellent views.

November 11th, 2005, 11:30 PM

November 12th, 2005, 12:15 AM
We need to get someone up there whenever the ESB lighting changes - until we get all of them.

November 21st, 2005, 12:45 PM
Buy me a plane ticket. I will bring a sleeping bag. And a camera.

My family and a bunch of my students are visiting NYC over Christmas week. We would really like to meet you. I don't think it would be too expensive to pass the hat and take up a collection for your airfare. What do you say?

Weehawken webcam
November 21st, 2005, 07:31 PM
zippy- I don't understand it. Can I take my tripod up or not? No point in taking a camera at night without it. Do you think they are "worried about security" so you'll pay them $ for shots? Thanks

November 21st, 2005, 08:02 PM
Here's the full explanation:

The tripod was in a case. As it was being scanned by security, one guard said to the other, "Tripod." He then told me that the use of a tripod was not permitted on the observation deck, but it was ok to bring it along with me.

Since you won't be denied entrance with the tripod, you can bring one and maybe get lucky. By a "quiet day" I meant not too many people. I think it's a safety issue. One person off in a corner with a tripod is not going to be a problem, but 10 of them on a crowded roof could be hazardous.

You don't need one for night shots if you steady the camera. The best place is the top level. The railings form V-notches where you can rest the lens barrel.

November 22nd, 2005, 09:49 PM
Take another look at Big Mac's post of October 19th, and tell me that picture doesn't make you well up...

November 24th, 2005, 04:05 AM
I know what you mean.
Lower Manhattan just doesn't look very impressive anymore without the twins.
Love them or not, you have to admit they made Lower Manhattan looked strong and powerful, almost demanding your attention. That cannot be said now. :(

Weehawken webcam
November 29th, 2005, 11:43 AM
I visited TOTR on Friday morning. You would have thought the place would be packed with tourists and shoppers but it wasn't. Your ticket specifies a 15 minute window. don't be fooled- you will not go up the elevator until the end of the window. Before that you have a nice history of Rock Center and some five minute movies you can watch.

The elevator ride up is fun. The ceiling is transparent and they project historical events from 1930 to the present as you rise to the top.

Both in the line and on top I saw guys with tripods. I'm not sure if they were hassled about it but you can definitely bring them up and it's definitely possible to pull them out while you're up there.

My impression is that since they have three floors of observation deck up there, it's likely that you can pull out a tripod without being too obtrusive. There is way more space available than there is on top of the ESB.

November 29th, 2005, 06:17 PM
Coming to NYC from 3rd - 8th Dec, would like to see Top of The Rock at around sunset. In too minds whether to book ahead now - Will it be that busy that we should book ahead? - On the other it would be preferable to wait and decide on the day if weather is clear?

Apologies for a seemingly banal question, but don't want to waste the opportunity for a 'view of a lifetime'!

November 29th, 2005, 10:46 PM
I walked up to the ticket counter yesterday at 3:15PM -- beautiful sunny day, 60 degrees -- and was on the roof within 20 minutes. Not at all crowded. The kids selling the tickets said during the week this was pretty normal, at least so far (weekends on the other had they say are crazy).

I stayed up on the Top til the sun went down -- and gotta say it's the best new (old) thing in town.

November 29th, 2005, 10:47 PM
PS -- I had no reservation.

December 1st, 2005, 07:14 AM
not sympathetic nerve "TOP OF THE ROCK", I must return to New York in May 2006, I look at the prices, in 2005, that made $14 for an adult, in May 2006 that passes to $17.50. hello increase

December 1st, 2005, 10:25 AM
With tax it now comes to over $15.00.

But even with the increase the TOTR is worth it ...

I plan to go back many times. A definite MUST when showing visitors around NYC.

(I wonder if they sell a season pass? Like Six Flags?? Hmmmmmm...)

December 10th, 2005, 01:07 AM
Does anyone believe the snow will make the experience worse? I already have tickets for around christmas time, and I hope it doesn't take away from anything.

December 11th, 2005, 03:34 PM
Worse in what way ?

December 11th, 2005, 04:17 PM
Does anyone believe the snow will make the experience worse? I already have tickets for around christmas time, and I hope it doesn't take away from anything.
On a nasty stormy day the visibility would defitinitely be limited.

The first time I went to the top of the Empire State Building was on a cold February night and it was blowing up a storm -- wind, snow, clouds -- and it was FANTASTIC.

Don't let a little bad weather stop you, especially if it's the only chance you have to go to the top. Just bundle up.

December 11th, 2005, 05:54 PM
Does anyone believe the snow will make the experience worse? I already have tickets for around christmas time, and I hope it doesn't take away from anything.

Absolutely not, it might be even more romantic

January 8th, 2006, 09:42 AM


City Spire
January 8th, 2006, 04:46 PM
That´s just insane! But this one from the same page is not that bad either...


January 10th, 2006, 01:13 AM
I was kinda disappointed by the way the Top of the Rock was setup. Basically, it's a bunch of glass panes, so you're visibility is limited to things that are kinda farther away. I always liked being able to look at the 'ants' below, but you couldn't really look downwards. The East and West views were limited as well due to glass and basically the building sorta blocking itself. As for the North, well, you're at the foot of Central park, so not much in the way of architecture. Not a horrible experience, but the Empire State building just seems more memorable.

Btw, I'm the guy that shot the photos in the two previous posts. Thanks for the links and credit.


February 2nd, 2006, 07:13 PM
I went today and enjoyed it a great deal. Interiors and media presentation are very well done. Not crowded at all around 3 P.M. Prices go up in March, I'm not sure it would be worth close to $20 including tax at that point.

February 3rd, 2006, 02:09 AM
Prices go up in March: close to $20 including tax
Boo Hiss Booooo

February 5th, 2006, 11:01 PM
I just got home from going to Top of the Rock, and although other forumers have posted the same shots, I
thought I would share my shots with you....


February 6th, 2006, 01:38 AM
^^^ nice ...

ain't the light in NYC fantastic ....

February 6th, 2006, 11:57 PM
The view from Top of the Rock observation deck (http://www.wirednewyork.com/guide/observation/top_of_the_rock.htm). 6 February 2006.

http://www.wirednewyork.com/guide/observation/observation_deck.jpg (http://www.wirednewyork.com/guide/observation/top_of_the_rock.htm)

February 7th, 2006, 01:30 AM
I am in a hurry to discover to obervatoir it in May when I see your photographs

TLOZ Link5
February 7th, 2006, 01:34 PM
I am in a hurry to discover to obervatoir it in May when I see your photographs

Will Amede come too? :D

February 10th, 2006, 07:20 AM
Definitely headed for that when I get to NYC.

Is the Rainbow Room open these days? Is it worthwhile?

February 10th, 2006, 09:06 AM
Is the Rainbow Room open these days? Is it worthwhile?

March 8th, 2006, 11:09 PM
A great shot from "Top of the Rock" back in the day ...


"Break Time"
Rockefeller Center 1932
Charles C. Ebbetts

March 9th, 2006, 04:02 PM
I get dizzy just looking at that.

March 9th, 2006, 04:47 PM
Makes today's construction workers with the safety harnesses look like pansies.

March 9th, 2006, 05:12 PM
Will Amede come too? :D

Yes, it awaits that impatiently, to re-examine his friend the statue of freedom and naked cowboy :D

April 11th, 2006, 04:31 AM
I was in midtown the other day with 30 min to spare before my show started and I popped up to the 'top of the rock' viewing platform. Definitely worthwhile and very nice. Not as good a view of downtown as the Empire State Building but arguably a better view of midtown. Also, less of a queue.

Only quibbles: they don't half make you traipse all over three levels before you actually get on the cheesy "sound effects" elevator up to the platform...but the view is worth it.

April 11th, 2006, 04:28 PM
I was in midtown the other day...
Glad you made it.

Must have brought your laptop.

Forum had a terrible tragedy. See Forum Issues page.

April 12th, 2006, 09:00 AM
I'm back home now. Read about that poor guy. I hope they nail the S.O.B.s.

July 18th, 2006, 10:39 PM
Here's a shot I got from the Top of the Rock (composed of 2 images with a fisheye lens)


July 18th, 2006, 10:45 PM
^ Nice, but can you lose the watermark?

July 18th, 2006, 11:50 PM
Nope, if you'd like to use the image, contact me personally. Sorry!

April 8th, 2010, 02:10 PM
http://images.ny-pictures.com/photo2/m/30883_m.jpg (http://ny-pictures.com/nyc/photo/picture/30883/beautiful_gem_lit_calm)

Picture of GE Building (http://ny-pictures.com/nyc/photo/topic/3951/GE_Building) thanks to anthea (http://ny-pictures.com/nyc/photo/photographer/604146/anthea) and New York Pictures (http://ny-pictures.com/nyc/photo/)