My kids’ elementary school recently had a half day of classes, which begged the question: “what to do?”
Usually when I ask my guys for their input, they suggest dinosaurs or The MOMA. But this time Lauren mentioned that she’d like to go to the top of the Empire State Building. Which is fine by me because when it comes to being a tourist in this city, I’m first in line. I’m not above gawking in Times Square and hopping on the red bus tours. Maybe it’s because I’m not from New York, but I’ve always kept a sense of wonder about the city.
This wasn’t our first trip to the Empire State building, but it had been years since our last visit. Plus, it was a beautiful day, making the view that much more promising. With a warning to the kids about long lines and no complaints, we headed up to 36th Street and Fifth Avenue.
When we arrived, I was roped into taking them on the Skyride, a bumpy simulated flight through Manhattan. If you’re easily nauseated, this might not be your finest hour. But my guys loved it and were asking for round 2.
With promises of another visit, and hot chocolates in their future, I was finally able to pry the kids away from the Skyride and head upstairs for the main event: the view.
The Empire State building has two viewing floors – the first is on the 86th floor:
A friendly tourist offered to take our picture with the city at our feet. Sam picked the perfect opportunity to be shy.
In case you were wondering, this is not allowed:
Before you report me to CPS, it looks worse than it is. Just about every kid was climbing into this exact spot to get a better view – it’s about the only place where you don’t have to hoist them up to shoulder level get a look at the city below.
Next we went to the second viewing area on the 103rd floor.
And we got to meet Renida. She’s one of those people who loves her job, God bless her. She stood at her window command and, like any tour guide worth her salt, has memorized a single line in every language. “Now where are you all from? Germany? Ich spreche ein wenig Deutsch! Ahhh hahaha, I got ya!”
“Where are you all from?” she asked us.
“Ahh haahaa! East side or West side? Aaah haha!”
Then she hoisted my kids onto the air conditioner for a better view.
At last, the sun began to drop on the Western Horizon, casting a golden glow across lower Manhattan. The kids made a last ditch effort to find our apartment, and we kissed the city goodnight.
Empire State building, as always, you were spectacular.