B, D, F, M at 47th-50th Sts.-Rockefeller Center
Adults, $20; seniors, $18; children 6-12, $13; children under 6, free
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
After undergoing a reported $75 million renovation, Rockefeller Center's observation deck reopened to the public in 2005 after nearly a 20-year hiatus. To attain the spectacular panorama afforded by this 1933 landmark, visitors must wind through a multimedia exhibit on the mezzanine level then take a 50-second shuttle elevator to the top while watching a quick history projected onto the transport's glass ceiling. Discharged to the 67th floor (which also doubles as a private event space), thrill-seekers then ascend to the 69th floor, which although outdoors, is surrounded by transparent glass safety panels to allow unobstructed views with protection against strong winds. To the north, Central Park dominates; southward, the Statue of Liberty and the Verrazano Bridge act as backdrops to the Empire State Building. The 70th floor, set back from the one below it, offers Top of the Rock's highest vantage point. Instead of glass panels, it's just the observation deck's original architecture; Art Deco-inspired and evoking an ocean liner, the 20-foot wide viewing platform stands 850 feet above street level. Views of New Jersey are partially obstructed by WNBC's Doppler 4000 weather radar, but that too proves a curious attraction in its own right.
Given the name, some might assume that this new event space is cheesy, but it’s not (think 25-foot ceilings, two private terraces, and a stunning Swarovski crystal installation). A more affordable option is the seventh floor 620 Loft and Gardens, with an outdoor reflection pool overlooking Saint Patrick’s. Call 212-593-9499 for catering options and prices.
The multimedia exhibit featuring the famous photograph of the building's construction workers eating lunch on a steel beam. Visitors walk across a similarly narrow beam, while a three-dimensional facsimile below shows the viewpoint of that time.
This 35-foot high crystal chandelier, is made up of over 14,000 crystals and 450 points of light.
The 69th floor's Breezeway detects visitors then tracks them with a LED shape on the ceiling. Ultimately, this north-south connective passageway serves little purpose.