I am a planner. I get anxious when I have an upcoming trip and don’t have absolutely everything booked. I create daily itineraries with what we are doing and when, I sometimes get hopeful and even plan where we will eat. I knew, having been before, that New York would be busy. I expected to wait in lines, as you do for most tourist attractions. I also knew that I didn’t want to waste time waiting in lines. So I booked. Mostly this works. It saves wasting hours the night before just trying to figure out what on earth to do the next day. How many of us have done that? When it doesn’t work is when the weather is unpredictable. As it was when we were there. For the large part we were extremely lucky with weather. So far with all the things I had booked which provided the best views in New York City, we were lucky enough to have relatively clear viewing.
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On our 6th day though we weren’t quite so lucky. We had cold, miserable weather with heavy cloud and fog and bouts of rain. I had booked us tickets for Top of the Rock for 10am and the NBC studio tours at 1pm.
We even got to Rockefeller Center early so we could enjoy a coffee before what would be another busy day exploring Manhattan. We went to collect our tickets and we were told that the Top of the Rock was closed due to no visibility. They did, however, kindly allow us to choose another time. With the weather due to clear up after lunch we booked in for 2:30pm. We now had a couple of hours to kill.
Those of you who are Sex and the City fans have heard of Magnolia Bakery. It is as amazing as the shows make it out to be. Fortunately for us there is a store in Rockefeller Centre on 1240 Avenue of the Americas at 49th Street. So getting a cupcake was our first order of business (this would also not be our first or last visit). We were also one block away from 5th avenue, so spent the morning shopping on the famous street.
After our studio tour, as if by magic, the sky had cleared. The Top of the Rock is by far one of the best views in New York City. Not only is it cheaper than the Empire State Building, but also quicker to get to the top. Due to its popularity the Empire State Building can take anywhere between 45 minutes to 3 hours or longer to get to the top floor. The Top of the Rock also offers great views of the Empire State Building and because it is closer to Central Park you get a spectacular view of its beauty and enormity too, also something that the Empire State Building does not have. There are 3 viewing platforms so really take the time to enjoy the view.
As it was a Tuesday I booked tickets for the National September 11 Memorial. Tickets are free every Tuesday from 5pm to close. All they ask is a small donation. I suggest pre-booking the ticket though as there is often a big line to utilise the free admission. The National Memorial is directly underneath the original twin towers and a spectacular tribute to those who tragically lost their lives. Tissues and are required as well as adequate time to pay respect.