The Rockefeller Center is a stout 22-acre complex in the thumping heart of NYC. A tiny little part of me always scans the complex's crowds, hoping to catch a glimpse of a scurried Liz Lemon wolfing down a hot dog and spazzing out about something Tracy-related. Of course, that never happens. But a girl can wish, right? The Rockefeller Center is a broadly-spread out plaza where you can wander around, check out the art-deco statues, eat and shop. In the winter you can catch the lighting of the famous tree, see people skating in the ice rink, and perhaps catch the Rockettes just around the corner at Radio City Music Hall. I'm going to be honest with you - visiting this area at Christmastime is just not worth it. Too many tourists. I guarantee you that true New Yorkers never go near this place in the winter - it's just swarming with human beings from other countries, whipping out their cameras left and right to photograph what you probably already have in your own home, a Christmas tree. But again, that's just my opinion. We visited several times this past Christmas when we had multiple guests in town, and each time I just felt a little disappointed by the experience. It's just too much. However, in the spring/summer/fall, this is a great area to traipse about and explore. You can check out the Channel Gardens, shop at my favorite Anthropologie, and take an NBC studio tour. It's the little things. But. I haven't told you the most obvious and BEST part about the Rockefeller Center: taking the elevator up to the Top of the Rock.
The Top of the Rock.
I've been to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck a few times because it is my absolute favorite skyscraper view of the city. It doesn't matter whether you go during the day, at sunset, or late at night, each view is just killer. Better than the Empire State Building, yes, and I'll tell you why. From the Top of the Rock, you can see all the way south to the water, past the mess of Times Square hoopla and downtown's skyscrapers. You turn East and see the length of the East River and all the bridges to Brooklyn. Turn West and focus on the ever-increasing lights beyond the Hudson River, with New Jersey all lit up. It's breathtaking and shocking. How did this island evolve into such a crazed, exciting network of eternally-tall buildings? It's just a wonder.
Now so far, you could see everything I've described from the Empire State Building, as well. But all that changes as you look North. From the Top of the Rock, you have a principle view of Central Park in its entirety. Gazing upon the Upper East and Upper West Sides, I can't help but marvel at their perfect parallel lines and the obedient grids these neighborhoods so kindly occupy. The stretch between these two mini-villages are colorfully filled in by the park lakes, ponds, vast lawns and meadows and trees... it's just incredible. Because of the height and position of 30 Rock, it completely blocks this view from the Empire State Building, and since Central Park is my favorite part of NYC, I much prefer this uninterrupted view. Also a bonus? Getting to actually SEE the Empire State Building. It's a beautiful view from up so high.
We visited 30 Rock again recently with our buds Elliot & Lena. This was where he got down on one knee and proposed to her years ago, and in honor of that memory, they wanted to visit again. With a new chapter of their life unfolding, they wanted to document this sweet changing of the seasons with a fresh photo announcement. The best kind of announcement, in my opinion :)
// Awww isn't this just EPIC?! //
// Perfect time for our camera to die, eh? iPhone to the rescue! //
You Should Just Visit.
30 Rock is a New York City icon. Yes, it's touristy and expensive and all that, but it's more than worth your while. I don't need to recommend you to visit or tour because it recommends itself. For the best views in NYC, there is no better place.