Empire State Building | On Top of the World!

by Denise Marie

Dominating New York City’s skyline since the early 1930’s, the Empire State Building is an iconic architectural landmark that has attracted countless visitors for generations. Standing more than 1,450 feet tall, this historic Art Deco property has two observation levels, a museum and gift shop. Open 365 days a year, the ESB offers one of the best ways to experience the City that Never Sleeps with friends and family.

The Great Building

The Empire State Building has been named one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. It stands 103 stories high right on 5th Avenue in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. It was the tallest building in the world for almost 40 years, until the completion of New York’s World Trade Center in 1970. Aside from its height, it is also famous for its classic Art Deco architecture, which can be seen everywhere from the spectacular cathedral-like three story lobby, to the sleek railings and design of the observation deck.

The Empire State Building also acts as symbol to mark holidays and world events. Floodlights were added to the top of the building in the 1960’s, and now the building lights up in different colors depending in the occasion. The building is lit up red, white and blue for the 4th of July, green for St. Patrick’s Day and Christmas, and in 1998, it was bathed in a blue light when Frank Sinatra (Old Blue Eyes) passed away.

It is simply one of the most famous buildings in the entire world and it has come to symbolize the bold and majestic grandeur of the Big Apple itself. The ESB has been featured in countless movies, television shows and books set in New York, from King Kong to An Affair to Remember to Doctor Who to Michael Chabon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.

Book your Empire State Building Day and Night Admission Ticket

Click to book your Empire State Building Day and Night admission ticket

Highlights and Experience

The Visitors’ Center at the Empire State Building should be the first stop for all tourists heading to the upper levels. This facility has multiple automated kiosks that sell tickets for the observation decks. Covering nearly 10,000 sq feet, the 2nd Floor Museum has numerous galleries and other interactive displays for visitors. Some of the exhibits focus on the skyscraper’s influence on American and global pop culture. Of course, you’ll see cool presentations of the iconic King Kong, the giant ape that climbed to the top of the skyscraper in multiple films.

The museum on the second floor also has detailed scale models of the architectural marvel. Featuring indoor and outdoor areas, the Main Deck is located on the 86th floor. Visitors will enjoy 360-degree views of New York City from this observation level. Coin-operated binoculars are installed at the outdoor terraces for even better views of all attractions and other interesting points in sight.

Having an indoor observation area, the Top Deck is located on the 102nd level of the skyscraper. On a day with optimum visibility, you might see communities that are approximately 80 miles away from Manhattan. From Central Park and the Brooklyn Bridge to One World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty, hundreds of attractions are visible from the top of this landmark.

After admiring awesome aerial views of the Big Apple, you may stop at the official gift shop on the second floor. From stuffed animals and mugs to shirts and hardcover books, this store is stocked with cool NYC-themed souvenirs.

Tips for the Perfect Visit

Since the Empire State Building is at the top of everyone’s must-see list, expect long lines. Tickets do offer an express option which will let you skip the lines, but you can expect to line up long before you get to the ticket counter. Instead, it’s cheaper and more efficient to plan your visit for a time when lines might be a little less long.

The best times to visit are first thing in the morning, around 3 p.m., or at night, when the lines are shortest. Don’t let bad weather keep you away. A little rain or snow does nothing to dampen the incredible view, and it does a lot to speed up your trip to the top. The most romantic time to visit is at night, when the city that never sleeps is sparkling at your feet.

Location and Getting There

The Empire State Building is visible from virtually all points in Manhattan, so you’ll easily find a quick route to this landmark. Tourists may enter the skyscraper through a designated entrance near the corner of 34th Street and 5th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. Having exits and entrances on multiple blocks, the 33rd Street subway station is within walking distance of this famous building. Offering subway, intercity and commuter rail services, New York Penn Station is also situated just a few blocks west of the historic skyscraper.

Click to visit Empire State Building official website.

Note: This information can change without notice. Confirm all details directly with the company in question.

Ellis Island | A New Home & Beginning for Millions

by Denise Marie

Standing prominently between New Jersey and New York City, Ellis Island is a major landmark that welcomed millions of immigrants into the United States. The island includes original buildings that once processed waves of new arrivals between the 1890’s until the 1950’s.

Ellis Island

Click to visit Ellis Island official website

Brief History and Facts

Ellis Island has served a number of purposes in its history. It was first a source of delicious oyster beds for the original settlers of New York. Then it was a pirate hideout, a military fort, a federal arsenal and barracks, before becoming the busiest immigration inspection station in the United States.

Established in the late 1800’s, Ellis Island served as an important entry point into the United States of America for nearly 12 million arrivals. They left their old lives behind and began new ones all across the United States. For decades, the venue processed the massive waves of immigrants from Eastern Europe, Russia, Italy and other regions in Europe. After World War I, the island was mainly used as a detention complex. Immigration quotas in the 1920’s ultimately led to the decline of the island’s role in processing immigrants.

Since 1965 Ellis Island has been part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument. In 1990, it has been home to a museum of immigration. Today, more than three million people still come to Ellis Island every year, visiting as tourists to explore their own personal histories or the history of the United States. It is a moving and powerful stop on any trip to New York City, and offers the very best view of the Manhattan, New Jersey, Brooklyn and Staten Island skylines, not to mention the Statue of Liberty.

Highlights

The Ellis Island Information Desk is the official visitor center on the island. You can obtain official maps, request audio tours and ask for special accommodations. The audio tours at this world-famous attraction are available in more than 10 languages.

You’re encouraged to begin your tour on the northeastern side of the island, which includes the Immigration Museum. The museum occupies the historic Main Building that retains the original French Renaissance Revival facade. Visitors will admire the limestone exterior and other distinct architectural elements of this national landmark.

Once inside, guests will also be in awe of the massive size and open layout of the Great Hall. Some of the Immigration Museum’s permanent galleries include Journeys: The People of America, New Eras of Immigration and American Flag of Faces. Visitors can also search for their ancestors at the American Family Immigration History Center. This venue contains an extensive collection of documents relating to millions of immigrants who entered the United States through the island.

The southwestern side of the island has a complex of other preserved facilities, including a morgue, hospital, powerhouse, measles wards and isolation wards.

Ellis Island Peopling of America Center

Click for more details on Ellis Island

Location and Getting There

Occupying 27.5 acres in the New York Harbor, Ellis Island is exclusively accessible by ferry. A bridge that connects the island with Jersey City is designated only for official use. You can board a ferry in Lower Manhattan’s Battery Park or Jersey City’s Liberty State Park. Most of the sightseeing boat tours also stop at the neighboring Liberty Island that’s home to the iconic Statue of Liberty. Note that Statue Cruises is the only company authorized by the National Park Service to provide ferry tickets and tours to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

Click to visit Ellis Island official website.

Radio City Music Hall | A Historic Entertainment Venue

by Denise Marie

Radio City Music Hall has been a prominent fixture in Midtown Manhattan since the 1930’s. Nested into the Rockefeller Center, this historic venue has hosted world-famous musicians, orchestras and other entertainers. It’s hard to miss the signature marquee signs above the main entrances to this entertainment hub in the heart of New York City.

Shows and Events

The Christmas Spectacular is without a doubt the most popular show at Radio City Music Hall. Scheduled during the weeks leading up to Christmas, this annual spectacle has been presented since the early 1930’s. The beautiful Rockettes are the stars of the 90-minute show that celebrates the magic of the holiday season in the Big Apple. These skilled precision dancers are best known for their synchronized high kicks and other maneuvers that truly amaze the audience.

The Christmas Spectacular also features classic Christmas jingles and other tunes that will surely get spectators in the spirit for the holiday. From music concerts and awards shows to comedy acts and sports conferences, Radio City Music Hall also hosts an array of other diverse events throughout the year.

You don’t have to buy tickets to any events to explore this iconic entertainment venue. Led by friendly staff members with passion for NYC’s rich culture, guided behind-the-scenes tours are available throughout the year. You’ll get the chance to view the historic Grand Foyer that’s decorated with dramatic Art Deco installations. Murals and tubular chandeliers are some other notable pieces inside the 60-foot foyer.

You’ll also gain access to the exclusive Roxy Suite, which is typically reserved for VIP guests during events. Additionally, the guided tours take visitors to the Grand Stage in the main auditorium. Three mezzanine levels and an orchestra level surround the main stage. The music hall is usually illuminated by a distinct red hue with an orange flare. The oval-shaped auditorium is also optimized for pleasant acoustics, especially during live concerts.

Radio City Stage Door Tour

Click to book your Radio City Stage Door Tour

Location and Getting There

Radio City Music Hall is prominently situated at the corner of 6th Avenue and 50th Street in Midtown Manhattan. This signature attraction is part of the Rockefeller Center that includes several skyscrapers. The B, C, D, Q and several other lines of the NYC Subway stop within walking distance of the mixed-used complex.

Click to visit the Radio City Music Hall official website.

Note: This information can change without notice. Confirm all details directly with the company in question.