Here’s a photo essay from the Top of the Rock combining multiple views from around the building. Some may look similar to earlier posts, but there are differences. At a subtle level, it’s a bit later in the day, so the sky and colors look different. Not to mention the Classic Chrome Fujifilm effect I opted to apply, which gives an extra steely urban appearance.
The most notable difference is that I’ve moved to the top level of the three-level observatory, going from the 67th to the 70th floor. Notice how there are no glass partitions to mar the view. Taking photographs through glass is suboptimal, causing reflections — no such problem here. Photographers visiting the Top of the Rock should go directly to the third level, not wasting time on the two lower floors. I found that out the hard way.
Here is my money shot looking south. I made countless variations of this, framing in landscape and portrait, at various levels of zoom, and through the changing light. This picture is at 35mm, with a 27.6mm full-frame equivalent. I wish I had a slightly more expansive view that perfectly framed the Empire State Building between two newer tall pointy skyscrapers.
These are the views looking north. The first one faces northeast and features 432 Park, the tall tower part of Billionaire’s Row. The second picture looks northwest with the rest of the mega-rich condos. You’ll notice that both show the glass walls from the level below.
While there were visitors on the north side, it was more sparse. Most instinctively knew the best views were to the south.
I’m back on the south side looking down. Here we see the first-level observatory on the 67th floor. I explicitly used a slow 1/2.8s shutter to create a motion blur of visitors.
The last two photos look southwest and southeast. I’ve already posted a similar view to the southwest that features Times Square and Hudson Yards. This picture includes more of the second-level observation platform.
The view southeast features the brand new and impressive One Vanderbilt, which opened in 2020. At 1,401 feet, it’s taller than the Empire State Building.
You can see why the Top of the Rock has such a commanding view of Manhattan and the surrounding neighborhoods. At 70 stories, it’s higher than most but also feels like a part of the skyline since others are taller. My only gripe is an incomplete view of one of my favorites, the Chrysler Building — the Met Life building obscures most of it. Once the tallest in the world, it looks modest these days.
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3 thoughts on “Photo Essay: The Best Views are from the Top of the Rock”
It’s been a while, Andy. Thanks for the useful information. I hope to have the opportunity to visit New York while I am still alive. 😉
Nice photos. Envy you!