My mom had me watching An Affair To Remember by the age of ten. I loved the movie Sleepless in Seattle. And I wanted to cry with everyone else when Blair couldn't meet Chuck at the top of the Empire State Building in Gossip Girl.
So naturally, when I was in NYC, the Empire State Building was on my top ten list. I went on a random Wednesday afternoon, thinking the line would be a bit shorter. In theory, it was a good idea. But... It was still July, and still New York City. Translation: the Empire State Building in the summer will be crowded any day of the week.
There was a line through security... Then a line to purchase my ticket... And a line to get my ticket scanned. It had been about 30 minutes and I assumed that this would be the last line as we snaked around past a gift shop and through an area where you could get your photo taken in front of a green screen as a souvenir. Wrong. That was actually the short part.
When we got out of the elevators on the 80th floor, an endless line snaked through a large, open room. After about fifteen minutes, an ESB employee informed my section that the remaining wait for the elevators would take an additional twenty minutes and we could take the stairs up the six flights if we wanted. I nearly ran, I was so glad to get out of that claustrophobic line. Calves burning a little, I arrived at the 86th floor.
We were blessed with a beautiful, sunny NYC day... Perfect for taking some photos. Unfortunately, there was no Chuck Bass waiting for me with a bouquet of lilies and an 8-carat Harry Winston. :(
It was amazing to see so far... To look out and see all the skyscrapers and the expanse of the city.
The view up above... The top portion of the ESB makes me think of a space shuttle or something... That little pointy portion at the top seemed so fragile-looking in comparison with how huge the rest of the building is
American flags along the outside of the observatory windows... Loved seeing this :)
If you look closely, you can see the Statue of Liberty out in the harbor!! She looked relatively small compared to all the enormous buildings around her!!
I also purchased an extra ticket to go up to the 102nd floor. Of course, there was another twenty-minute line to go up the elevator (they wouldn't let anyone take the stairs this time). The 102nd floor is a tiny, circular room and it was very difficult to take photos because the glass windows were fairly thick and pretty smudged. I ended up deleted the few I had tried to take. If you ever go to the ESB, I would not suggest shelling out for the extra sixteen floors. In my opinion, it's just not worth it.
By the time I walked out the street-level doors of the Empire State Building, I had used up about three hours of my day. I was frustrated that I had spent so much time in line, but glad that I got to see a spot where so much romance had taken place in my favorite movies and TV shows.
Overall, I have to admit... I was expecting so much and was kind of disappointed. The ESB looks so amazing in the movies... All art deco elegance, no crowds, and old-fashioned romance. If you love the movies you've seen the ESB in and just want to be there to say you've been... I would definitely go. But if it's not a "must-see" for you I would save your time and money and just Google the views. :)
Now... If anyone ever guarantees Chuck Bass would be on the 86th floor when I got there?? That would definitely change my opinion... :)
P.S. Apparently there's something called "ESB After Dark" from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. every Thursday through Saturday. There's a live jazz saxophone player strolling around the observation deck and taking song requests if you want. I think there might be less people and it would be super romantic!!