20 November 2017

The Big Apple On A Not So Big Budget - Empire State of Mind

Of all the towering skyscrapers of New York, nothing beats the charm of the Empire State Building. A hazy recollection of Sleepless In Seattle scenes cemented the icon building on my mind and I wanted to go up that observation deck ever since.
View from The Empire State Building at Night

Walking the streets of New York was surreal. It's like every corner, every block is something you've already seen before. Like a memory enclosed on a screen.

The Ed Sullivan Theater. Home to Letterman for years and now Colbert.
And after checking-off "Watch a Broadway Show" from our bucket list, we thought that 11PM is still too early for a city that never sleeps. With a quick check online, we found out that The Empire State building closes at 2AM. It is too early!

looking up The Empire State Building
But before we went there, we realized that we haven't had dinner yet! Good thing there was a McDonald's near Broadway Theater. I've always wondered if the Big Mac back home tastes the same as the Big Mac in the US.

Big Mac
Now for the verdict. The good new is, they're the same! I've heard of other popular American restaurants in Manila having a different taste than the food they serve in the US. But now for the bad news, it costs 3x more! The Big Mac meal here in Manila is less than Php200 while in the US it's around Php500! I guess we're lucky to have access to the Big Mac on the cheap! And after that quick bite, we hopped on the subway to The Empire State Building, again using the MyTransit app.

Waiting for the N train
We arrived at the Empire State just before midnight and there are no other visitors in sight!
Empire State Building lobby
Using our New York City Explorer Pass that we purchased a week before, we got up the observation deck hassle-free. Not that it would be difficult to purchase tickets at midnight but at least we got a discount!
Inside the elevator
Going up, you'll be treated to a mini show, like the building is being built as you go up the floors.

In less than a minute, we're finally at the Observation Deck of The Empire State Building and boy what a view!

from the 86th floor

The Statue of Liberty as a dot on the right-hand side of the World Trade Center
The City That Never Sleeps
In my estimate, there were less than 30 people on the deck that hour. I strongly recommend going up the Empire State building at midnight for a couple of reasons. For one, there are less tourists obviously. But at the same time, this plan would not take that much time from your New York must-see itinerary as most tourist spots can only be enjoyed while the sun is still up. 
Checking if someone left a backpack
For us, having a limited time in New York, this was perfect.

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