New York: Top of the Rock Observation Deck

We had a few hours before the Broadway show starts. I wanted to show Suanne the view of the New York skyline from the Empire State Building but she did not want to because I had already been there before. Instead, we settled for the next best place … the “Top of the Rock”.


The Top of the Rock is the nickname for the top of the highest building (the GE Building) in the Rockefeller Center. The Rockefeller Center is actually a complex of 17 buildings built during the height of the 1930s Depression. The GE Building, being the tallest in the entire Rockefeller Center, is 70 stories high. It’s most famous tenant is NBC.


In the center of the Rockefeller Center is the world famous sculpture of Prometheus in front of the equally world famous skating rink.


We bought the “Rock Pass” tickets which included not only access to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck but it also included two tours: The Radio City Stage Door Tour and the NBC Studio Tour. It was quite expensive at $45 per person. The Top of the Rock Observation Deck entrance alone costs $20.


The NBC Studio Tour was interesting to say the least. If you watch NBC shows and programs, you will enjoy this very much. Since we were not allowed to take pictures during the NBC Studio Tour, I have nothing much to share with you here (sorry!). I was warned that I can take my camera along the tour but if I take any pictures inside the studios, they will have to slap me with a copyright infringement lawsuit!

And no … we did not bump into any stars during the tour. I was hoping to bump onto Conan O’Brien during the visit to his stage and crack a joke and see if he finds my joke funny. At the end of the tour, we were given the chance to play the role of the weather man or a news reader. You can take home a video of that if you want.


We did not get to the Radio City Stage Door Tour at all because we simply ran out of time in New York. Oh well, we’ll be back some day I’m sure.


Off we went to the lobby where the elevators are to bring us up to the Top of the Rock.


We first watched a short video on the history behind the Rockefeller Center before they let us up. It was quite boring if you ask me.


As I was told, the Top of the Rock is far, far, far less crowded than the Empire State Building. It is a lot more spacious and you can relax here. The Empire State Building is like madness. I had blogged about my trip to the Empire State Building here before … if you care to read that is.


There are glass panels all round. While it is great for viewing but really, it is bad for photography. Can’t have it all, can I?


The most commanding view from the Top of the Rock is of Central Park. You cannot see the Central Park from the Empire State Building.


I like New York’s Central Park and had spent some time here before … and blogged about it too. I was an accidental extra in the movie that is showing now … Ghost Town! See if you can spot me in the movie … am the guy sitting next to the hot dog stand. 🙂 Read about my minor role on the Ghost Town movie here.


If you ask me if there is one place to go, either the Empire State or the Top of the Rock, I’ll still say the Empire State building. Despite the crowd and huge queue, there is nothing like being able to say I was there on the Empire State Building.


I took lots of pictures but wished I had picked a better day to be here. The light was harsh and the air quality was poor. So, the pictures did not turn out the way I wanted them to be.

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