New York Vacation: October 5 Day Two - Empire State Building

Oct 5 Day Two: Plan for the day -- The Empire State Building 

We finally all wake up about 12:30 p.m. New York time. James never eats cereal for some inexplicable reason and only eats toast for breakfast, so we decide to go try and find someplace that is serving breakfast. According to the hotel information, they only serve breakfast til 11:00. So….we ask the bell hops who advise us that the restaurant is no longer serving breakfast. They kindly point us in the direction of café “Whozits” a couple blocks down the street in Korea town. We get there and nope, they don’t serve breakfast in the afternoon, but a kindly customer directs us to go to café “Whatzits” two blocks down and to the left. We get to café “Whatzits” who also doesn’t serve breakfast, and again a kindly customer says go to café “Wherezits” two blocks over. At which point it is now 2:00 p.m. and I am tired of the who, what, where game. I hungrily and huffily advise the boys that we are going back to the hotel and eating and it doesn’t matter what it is.

We get back to the hotel and sit wearily down in the restaurant and look at the menus. Glaring out at you from right in the middle of the page:
LATE BREAKFAST 11:00 A.M. TO 3:00 P.M.
I have two bellhops to throttle!!!! The food was delicious – I had a three egg cheese omelet, Father had steak and eggs and James had --- French Fries.

We freshened up and on our way out mentioned the loud wooshing noise to the desk clerk. She said that if there is a guest staying in that room, there isn’t anything they can do, unless THEY complain. “Well, gee thanks for being so helpful.” At this point, I was firmly ensconced in the room, unpacked and didn’t feel like packing again, just to move to another room that might be equally noisy. Besides, it wasn’t bothering my two guys (yet), so decided to get used to it.

Off to the Empire State Building which was just one block down. You can purchase tickets in advance on line and go the express route, which means you don’t have to wait in as long a line, but do have to pay a ticket surcharge for the pleasure. It would take me longer to do down to the hotel business center, go online, buy the tickets and print them off versus walking there. We were just around the block and it was Friday, so how long could the line be? The sign at the door says the wait time is approximately 55 minutes.

We go through the revolving doors into the lobby of the Building and up the stairs to the 2nd floor following the directions of various guides to get in the first line which is for security. The line of people move slowly but constantly forward, as you wind your way down the red ropes to security. Security has the x-ray machine for your belongings and walk through metal detector just like the airport, except you don’t have to take off your shoes, glasses, belts or empty your pockets. Kinda speeds things up a bit. Once past security, you get to the ticket booth.

We purchased tickets to go up to the 102nd floor observatory in addition to the 86th floor observatory. Then we went to the 3rd line which was for the elevators.

The guides had the lines running like clockwork. The lines winded this way and that way through halls and foyers, which also lead you through getting your picture taken in front of a blank green screen. So, we figured the picture would end up being us in front of the Empire State building, of course. James had on a green shirt, the same color of the back ground. We wondered if he was going to disappear in the shot.
At one point, the lines for going up and going down merged in one hallway. The folks going up are coming in from the left and the folks going down are coming from the right. The left hand folks are directed to walk to the right side of the red rope and turn right down the hall to get to the UP elevator. The right hand folks are directed to walk to the left side of the red rope and turn left down the hall to the DOWN elevator.

WELL…just as we reach the front of the line, there is a lull with the folks going down. I happened to be looking back at the people in line. Two ladies several feet behind us just see an empty area where a line should be. They hop over the rope and scurry over beside us on the other side of the rope. The guard directs them to the left side of the rope and they are off with smirks on their faces, thinking they have managed to slide ahead of us. Unbeknownst to them, they just spent 55 minutes in line to go back down. LOL!!!!!!

We reach the elevators, go up to the 80th floor, down another hallway to another bank of elevators and go up to the 86th floor, then get to ride an antique manually operated elevator up to the 102nd observatory. It was actually quiet up there without a lot of people. It was also hazy and visibility was only 2 ½ miles in any direction, so unfortunately couldn’t see the statue of liberty, but what we could see was amazing.

To the north we could see the whole of central park and the Hudson River

To the east is the Queens and past the river, Long Island.

To the South was Wall Street area, New York Bay, the Statute of Liberty and the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges. It was hazy and the sun was shining in our faces. We could barely make out the statue of liberty.

To the West was the view on One Penn Plaza, Madison Square Gardens, the river and New Jersey. The tall black building is One Penn Plaza

James said the people down on the ground look like ants. Father took quite a few pictures, then after a while we headed back down. The elevator operator let James “drive” the elevator which made me a little nervous. It must have gotten the attention of someone else too because James made it start to go back up and then down again and the operators phone started ringing.

We made it safely to the 86th floor observatory where most of the people were. We wandered and took more pictures and bought some souvenirs (of course). James got a penny flattened with the image of the empire state building pressed into it.

The funniest part of the whole thing was, people were more intent on feeding the pigeons and getting their pictures, rather than the fantastic view; my two guys included. 

When we were ready to go, had to do the lines all over again, which means taking the elevator down to the 80th floor and winding through the halls to the express elevator to go the rest of the way down. They offered the use of the stairs to go from the 86th floor to the 80th floor. We thought we would be smart and take the stairs forgetting how tired and slow my little boy was getting. Everyone was quite nice about hanging a left around him as we plodded down, with James counting every step. We finally got to the 80th floor and the elevator line again.

Once we reached the 2nd floor, we headed over to the picture spot; looked at the picture of us and it was a night time view of the Empire State Building. James shirt blended in with the skyline and actually looked pretty neat. Of course we had to purchase it, even if it was $20.00.

There were actually many stores and offices in the Empire State Building but by this point we were footsore and weary and just wanted to get back to the hotel. As we were leaving, we saw a Walgreens and went in to get more food and goodies. We got back to the hotel room and collapsed on the beds.

Father decided he was going to have fruit loops for dinner and I decided to order room service. I ordered the Chicken Balsamico with garden potatoes and fresh vegetables. I have to say the meal was enough for three people and once Father smelled it, he just had to have some. The whole meal was quite delicious and the vegetables were absolutely fresh and yummy. We polished off the whole thing and were quite satisfied. We read for the rest of the evening, then tried to go to sleep at a reasonable time. Do you remember the song: Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. Just think of that while trying to sleep. Whoosh!

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