We have been in the NYC area for more than 4 years, but during that time, I have never been back to the Empire State Building (1). HVW went with visitors once, but I couldn’t make it. The main reason, is the crowds. They are always, always, out of control. We once had a plan to go up with some friends by timing our visit around dinner time, when there is supposed to be a lull. But after waiting in line for 30 minutes, and then being told there was about a 2-hour wait still ahead of us, we bailed.
But now, things are different. With few tourists in the city, and nothing else planned for a hot Saturday in July, we decided to give it a go. This time there were, literally, no lines.
Once we got through security we were able to wander through the exhibits that are intended to provide entertanment and distraction, while waiting to get to the elevator to the observation deck. They have been redone recently and are actually pretty good. The timelapse recreation of the building process was cool.
And of course there is the monkey (You know the name of… You know the fame of…)
Then we got on the elevator (max 4 people at a time, and please stand in the designated spots, facing the corners), and wandered around the 86th floor observation deck for a while. There were other people there, but not many. Overall, I’d say the number of staff and the number of visitors was about equal.
From the time we arrived for our 2 o’clock timed admission, to the time we left was about an hour, which was just about the right length.
(1) HVW and I went to the top of ESB when we visited NYC for a weekend back in 2010.