The Big Apple is teeming with places offering sensational perspectives on the city. Here are the 10 historical observatories to newcomers, always more spectacular, passing by less known but equally remarkable points of view.
Empire State Building, the historic observatory
This skyscraper inaugurated in 1931 on the prestigious Fifth Avenue is to New York what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris: an icon. Before reaching the top, an exhibition tells the story of this building designed in the purest Art Deco style. The main terrace, on the 86th floor, offers a breathtaking view of Manhattan, with the wonderful advantage of being in the open air. Ideal for listening to the beats of the city and contemplating the sunset.
Empire State Building, 350 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10118. Open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to midnight Friday through Sunday. Admission: $44 ($38 for children 6 to 12 years old and $42 for seniors from 62 years old).
One World Observatory, le plus haut
Built from April 2006 to May 2013, the One World Trade Center succeeded the twin towers of the World Trade Center, destroyed during the attacks of September 11, 2001. The tower reaches the symbolic height of 1776 feet (about 541 meters), in tribute to the year of American independence. From the 100th to 102nd floors, 386 meters above the ground, the One World Observatory offers a 360° view of the city, with a bird’s eye view of the Statue of Liberty and the Financial District.
The price : $38 ($32 for children 6 to 12 and $36 for seniors over 65).
Top of the Rock, New York en liberté
At the heart of Rockefeller Center, the Observatory of Top of the Rock rises only 259 meters but its view is nonetheless breathtaking on the Empire State Building, Manhattan and Central Park.
Another strong point: the highest platform is the only New York observatory without a grid or window, giving the impression of floating aboard a hot air balloon anchored to the building.
The price : $40 ($34 for children 6 to 12 years old and $38 for seniors from 62 years old).
The Edge, for thrill seekers
Inaugurated in March 2020, The Edge runs on adrenaline! The main platform is located on the 100th floor of the tower 30 Hudson Yards, like an outgrowth defying the void 345 meters high. It also contains a glass floor that you walk through while holding your breath. With access City Climbthe more adventurous can climb the 45° staircase that leads to the spire.
The price : $38 ($33 for children from 6 to 12 years old and $36 for seniors from 62 years old), $185 for City Climb.
Summit One Vanderbilt, the novelty that stands out
The new tour One Vanderbilt adjoins Grand Central Station and rises to Midtown from the top of its 427 meters. Since September 2021, the Summit One Vanderbilt Observatory offers a visit route on 3 floors, from the 91st to the 93rd floor, 311 meters above Manhattan. Spectacular view of the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building at your fingertips. The Summit is also distinguished by its dreamlike scenography and its stunning mirror effects. Furiously Instagrammable!
The price: starting at $39 ($33 for children 6-12).
The Statue of Liberty, from pedestal to crown
If all tourists visiting New York set foot on thestatue of liberty island, only a privileged few roam its pedestal. This 47-meter-high plinth hosts a narrow balcony at the foot of Miss Liberty, overlooking New York Bay. We are also awaiting the reopening of the crown, an improbable observatory set up in the head of the statue.
The price : $24.50 with access to the pedestal ($12.30 for children 4 to 12 years old and $18.30 for seniors from 62 years old).
Statue of Liberty, Liberty Island. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.
Harlem Fire Watchtower, the Guardian of Harlem
The Harlem Fire Watchtower is the last surviving watchtower of the 11 towers built in New York City in the early 1850s to fight fires. This metal tower, about 15 meters high, is installed in the Marcus Garvey Park, in the heart of Harlem, offering an original view of Manhattan. The bell used at the time to give the alert is still there!
Harlem Fire Watchtower, Marcus Garvey Park, Harlem. Guided tours on the second Saturday and third Sunday of each month, between noon and 3 p.m. Free donation.
Riverside Church, the tallest steeple in America
In the neighborhood of Morningside Heights, the Riverside Church is an imposing church built from 1927 to 1930 on the model of Chartres Cathedral. The church features the tallest steeple in North America. A bell tower open to visits! You have to climb 20 floors in the elevator before attacking 145 steps to enjoy an unprecedented view of the Hudson River, the Upper West Side and the One World Trade Center in the distance.
The price: $15 Wednesday through Saturday and $20 Sunday.
High Line Observation Deck, perched on 10th Avenue
The High Line follows an old railway line laid out in 1934 through Chelsea and Meatpacking. The trains ceased their rotations in 1980 but the suspended route is still there, transformed since 1999 into gardens. The highlight: the High Line Observation Deck, a large bay window overlooking 10th Avenue. Enough to follow the hectic bustle of New York!
Hamilton Park, the balcony on the skyline
Facing Manhattan, New Jersey, the small town of Weehawken worth the detour for its exceptional view of the New York Skyline. The most beautiful panorama is to be discovered in Hamilton Park, a belvedere perched on the rocky barrier which borders the Hudson River, culminating at 44 meters. See you at sunset, when the buildings are adorned with gold.
Hamilton Park, Boulevard East, Hudson Pl, Weehawken, NJ 07086. Take the 165 bus bound for Westwood at the Port Autorithy Bus Terminal and get off at the Boulevard East at Eldorado Pl stop (travel time: 8 minutes).