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Rooftop Views in New York City
January 5, 2013 By Byron Beck
Nothing can really take your breath away. But New York City comes pretty darn close. At the tippy-tippy top of Manhattan's tallest buildings, you'll find spectacular views of this brightly lit city and beyond. But, alas, most of these pinnacles aren't open to the public. Thankfully there are a couple of well-known vantage points to take in all the Big Apple has to offer, as well as some nice boite spots that not only offer a spectacular view but also a comfy seat as well.
Empire State Building
It's a well-known fact that the 81-year-old Empire State Building features some of the best views of New York City, such as the massively impressive Central Park and only-in-New-York structures like the Chrysler Building and Sony Tower (formerly the AT&T Building). Not only can you see this city from the same space that Meg Ryan did in "Sleepless in Seattle," on a clear day you can see for almost 80 miles. In your viewfinder you'll see four states. On the west side you'll see the recently-battered Jersey City and Newark, New Jersey, as well a wee bit of Pennsylvania. The east side views include Brooklyn, Long Island and a tiny slice of Connecticut. And to the north you'll see Massachusetts.
At night, observation decks on the 86th and 102nd floors allow visitors to bathe in the glow of the Empire State Building's beautiful lights. And on Thursdays through Saturdays, from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., a live saxophonist performs on the 86th Floor for "ESB After Dark."
350 5th Ave. Included in New York CityPASS.
Located on the 20th floor of the former Victoria Hotel, this year-round, two-floor, sky-high space features a rooftop deck and garden and a fully enclosed Penthouse Lounge. During the cooler months the rooftop is partially heated which makes it the perfect place to grab a drink and drop a jaw at the amazing views as well as the "world's most expensive hot dog." These pups will set you back $2,300 each (but it all goes to charity). Gulp. Thankfully, on the weekends brunch is $29 for adults and $15 for children.
230 Fifth Ave., 20th fl., www.230-fifth.com
Top of the Rock
Taking a trip to the Top of the Rock is more than just your chance to sneak a peek at NYC's impressive skyline. This thrill ride, from the interactive elevator to the cute gift shop, is a multi-sensory experience of the most spectacular kind. The 360-degree night views from 30 Rock's Top of the Rock 67th, 69th, and 70th observation decks rival any view in the world (and the lines to get in here are sometimes shorter than at that other popular perch). Let the wind hit your face as you take a look toward Central Park or breath in the fresh salt air as you gander at the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island. It doesn't get better than at "The Rock."
30 Rockefeller Plaza. Included in New York CityPASS.
The Press Lounge
The Press Lounge, atop Kimpton's Ink48 Hotel, is Adam Block's sister venue to his fancy farm-to-table PRINT. Restaurant. Only for those 21 and over (it's a bar, after all) the Press Lounge offers kicky cocktails and nice nibbles as well as gorgeous views of the Hudson River and Manhattan. Frank Bruni of The New York Times says that The Press Lounge is "without question, one of the city's most attractive rooftop bars." Seating is on a first-come-first-served basis, and reservations are not accepted. So get to this lounge early (it opens at 5 p.m. daily) if you want a good view as you drink your Manhattan in Manhattan.
653 11th Ave., www.thepresslounge.com
Rare Bar and Grill Rooftop Views
Rare View Rooftop Garden at Lexington, inside the Shelburne Murray Hotel, features specialty cocktails and great views of the city. But it closes early, at 11 p.m., and is unfortunately closed from October to April. However, its sister restaurant, Rare View, Chelsea, is open year-round and until midnight. Located 23 floors above The Hilton New York Fashion District in Chelsea and just a few steps away from the Fashion Institute of Technology, The Empire State Building and Herald Square, this self-proclaimed "urban tree house" offers one of the best views of the Empire State Building in Manhattan.
152 W 26th St., http://www.rarebarandgrill.com/rareview.php