Charlie’s advance preparations turned out to be for naught (although one can always put M&Ms, Tintin, and binoculars to good use) as the Empire State Building, although not completely deserted, was happily uncrowded. We whizzed through a short ticket line and allowed ourselves an upsell to a combination ticket to both the 86th Floor and the 102nd Floor Observatories. When you go, skip the latter. It’s not worth the $15 extra per ticket, it’s enclosed and crowded, and--take my word for it—the view isn’t any different or more spectacular sixteen additional floors up.
Wait until your kids are old enough to be stroller-free or leave the stroller at home, as negotiating either of the observatories with one would have been a huge headache.
Books And Movies For Your Visit
- The Empire State Building by Lisa Bullard
- Men at Work by Lewis W. Hine
- Sky Boys: How They Built the Empire State Building by Deborah Hopkinson and James E. Ransome
- The Top Job by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
- Empire State Building: When New York Reached for the Skies by Elizabeth Mann
- Sector 7 by David Wiesner
- An Affair to Remember (1957)
- King Kong (1933, 1976/PG, and 2005/PG-13 versions)
- Sleepless in Seattle (1993) (PG)
*I didn’t actually watch any of these movies with Charlie and haven’t seen any of them recently, so can’t speak to how age-appropriate they are for a six-year-old.
The Empire State Building, 350 Fifth Avenue (between 33rd and 34th Streets), New York, New York 10118, (212) 736-3100, www.esbnyc.com; Hours: Open daily (8 AM to 2 AM); Admission: Adults: $22; Children 6-12: $16; Children 5 & younger: Free.
Where to Eat
Heartland Brewery, 350 Fifth Avenue (@ 34th Street), New York, New York 10118, (212) 563-3433, www.heartlandbrewery.com; American-style brewpub with beer-friendly fare and a children’s menu.