It’s funny to think that so many adults have never known a life where NBC’s late night comedy sketch program, Saturday Night Live did not exist, but it’s not so weird considering the show is currently celebrating its 40th year on the air. If you’re even a casual fan of the show and you live anywhere near NYC, you should make a point to see Saturday Night Live: The Exhibition, an independent and ridiculously comprehensive showcase collecting sets, props, photos, costumes, film clips and every type of random ephemera covering the show’s history, from the original Not Ready for Prime Time Players up to today.
I think it’s safe to say that most people who live in Manhattan don’t do very many traditionally touristy things when they are out on their own. At least that’s true for me. I’ve lived in NYC for over twenty years and, after hitting all of the famous, must-see attractions at least once (RIP The Top Of The World), the most touristy thing I do these days is go to museums. But last night I met up with a former high school classmate of mine and her family, who were enjoying their very first visit to NYC, and when they expressed a desire to hit the Top Of The Rock – the observation deck at the top of Rockefeller Center – so they could cross it off their list, I was in just the right mood to go along. I’m really glad I did, because it was a lot of fun!
Adult admission, at $21, is a little pricey if you’re on a budget, but wasn’t a big deal to me. While that meant that my friend and her family had to part with almost $100 (their 12 year-old saved them $7 off the adult admission), I felt like the experience was well worth 21 bucks. We visited at around 10:00 PM, when the temperature (which has been so relentlessly punishing and brutal this summer) had dipped to a merciful 75 degrees. Magnificent views aside, the steady breeze on the building’s roof deck, 70 stories above the street, provided me with first opportunity to possibly even think about wearing a sweater in nearly 3 months – it was wonderful! The deck has three levels you can visit and we spent time on all three. The top most, with its radio towers, has partially obstructed views to the east (Queens) and west (Jersey), but the only slightly less elevated levels give you full 360 degree views of a city that, after dark and with it’s innumerable lights all shining, is surely among the most beautiful in the world. The Empire State Building, lit up in red and green on this night, was simply stunning to behold, and it was hilarious to look down upon the neon billboards and Jumbotron of Times Square, having no problem identifying that area.
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For me, my time on the deck was very centering at the end of long and busy week at my office, and it felt like an almost spiritual experience to take in the city that I love so much from a rare vantage point. On the Top of the Rock, I realized how lucky I am to live in what is really a magical place. Even if you aren’t into doing typically touristy things, I recommend you check it out while we still have the warm weather.
Top of The Rock is located at 30 Rockefeller Plaza with an entrance on 50th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues (it’s the same building that is home to NBC’s Studio 8H, where they tape Saturday Night Live). The last elevator to the top leaves at 11:00 PM, so if you get there shortly before 10:00 PM you’ll have lots of time to enjoy your visit. Visit Top of the Rock’s website at This Link for more information.