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Empire State After Dark

Once the world’s tallest building, the Empire State Building is one of the first modern skyscrapers.  The last time I visited in 2006, I waited in line for hours. The view was great, but… long queues suck. When I returned in 2009, I decided to give it a go at night, since the upper deck is open very late (2am, although the last elevator up is 1:15).  There was almost no line at around midnight.  Tickets are expensive at $20 for adults, so be prepared with a fat wallet.  Found this on the website: “Military personnel are admitted free when in full uniform.”

View of the Empire State Building from the Flatiron Building:

The square beside the Flatiron Building offers an excellent view

The square beside the Flatiron Building offers an excellent view

Now, let me say: the nighttime views were not as fantastic as those from the Eiffel Tower. But this is partly because it was quite hazy on this hot summer day in New York City. I believe the view (and the photos) would be better on a crisp, clear day.

Times Square is a bit disappointing when seen from this angle. (0.8s, f/4.5, ISO 200)

Times Square is a bit disappointing when seen from this angle. (0.8s, f/4.5, ISO 200)

The Flatiron Building is a well-known monument, and here you can see why it provides such a good view of the Empire State Building:

The Flatiron Building -- can you guess where they got the name?  (4s, f/7.1, ISO 200)

The Flatiron Building -- can you guess where they got the name? (4s, f/7.1, ISO 200)

I guess that just about every bridge in the NYC area is visible from the top of Empire State. Here are the Manhattan Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge. One hint: if you want a great geometric picture with suspension lines everywhere, visit the Brooklyn Bridge on a clear, sunny day with your polarizing filter.

Beautiful view of the Manhattan Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge.  (1.6s, f/6.3, ISO 200)

Beautiful view of the Manhattan Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge. (1.6s, f/6.3, ISO 200)

Given clearer conditions, I could have taken a superior photo of the Manhattan skyline. But I’m pretty pleased with this result. Now I need to return in a few years… perhaps when the Freedom Tower is complete!

On the far right of the Manhattan Skyline, you can just see the Statue of Liberty.  (2.5s, f/5.6, ISO 200)

On the far right of the Manhattan Skyline, you can just see the Statue of Liberty. (2.5s, f/5.6, ISO 200)

On the way out, I got this shot of the entranceway. That’s a beautiful inlay in the wall behind the desk!

You'll never see the lobby as empty as it is at 1am...

You'll never see the lobby as empty as it is at 1am...

Although not as fantastic as the Eiffel Tower view, I would still recommend the Empire State Building at night — as long as it’s a clear night. If you want photo tips on how to take these great night shots, check out my Eiffel Tower post where I explain details like using a small tripod and a shutter delay.  These were taken with a Nikon D90; if you’d like to support an aspiring writer & photographer, purchase with the Amazon link below!

Getting there:

  • Address: 350 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10018
  • Nearest Metro: 34th St – Herald Square (also not far from 34th St – Penn Station)
  • Building security: small bags are allowed but not large luggage.  Don’t bring drinks.
  • Ticket sales are not on the ground floor, but at an intermediate level after going up some ways in the elevator.

Official website: Empire State Building Website

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Posted in World Travel 7 years, 5 months ago at 11:16 am.

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