The High Points of New York

The New York skyline is undoubtedly an impressive one, with towering skyscrapers and fascinating structures stretching as far as the eye can see. By 2008, the city was home to 191 buildings standing at over 500 feet – more than any other city in America – with plenty more under construction since then. When it comes to sightseeing, New York at ground level tells only a half a story. For the other half, you should head to the high points of New York.

The Empire State Building

The tallest building in New York City, the 102 floors of the Empire State Building stand at an awe-inspiring 1,250 feet from floor to roof, with an additional 204 feet added by the building’s spire. The 360 degree perspective offered from the observatory decks of this building is unparalleled by any other building in America, with a view on a clear day of up to 80 miles. From the art-deco design of the building to its breathtaking height, there is plenty to enjoy, including enclosed areas with binoculars supplied, and outdoor walkways which are certainly exciting on windy days. However, the spire also serves as a beacon for New York, keeping the people informed of events. The lights on the spire will change colour in order to make people aware of a particular event; for example, during Earth Hour there will be no lights, on President’s Day the lights will show red/white/blue, on Valentine’s day red/pink/white, and on the day of a Super Bowl, they will correspond with the colours of the teams playing. When it comes to sightseeing, New York’s tallest building is by far the best view of the city.

The Chrysler Building

Another skyscraper that is well worth a look when you’re sightseeing, New York’s Chrysler Building held the title of being America’s tallest building for a year, before it was taken by the Empire State Building. However it remains the second tallest building in the country and by far one of the most impressive. Architect William Van Alen constructed the 125 foot spire inside the building in secret, hoisting it to the top only on the point of the building’s completion. Alen has combined art deco designs with prominent features, yet he has cleverly avoided any impression of gaudiness, resulting in a building that intrigues visitors and draws the camera towards it from any angle. The impressive lobby with its fascinating ceiling mural, and the immense elevators are well worth a visit, though unfortunately the observation deck is no longer open to visitors.

The Statue of Liberty

Standing tall on Liberty Island since 1886, the Statue of Liberty welcomes visitors and those returning to their home soil. Standing at 151 feet, or 305 feet including the pedestal and base, she is a truly impressive site. A gift from France to commemorate 100 years of independence, this statue is one of the most symbolic high points of America, and must be included when planning your sightseeing. New York is neighboured by both Ellis and Staten Island, and should you take the ferry to either of these islands you will pass very close to Miss Liberty. However, if you have a chance to go to Liberty Island itself, you will get the opportunity to enter the statue to take a look at the museum, and climb to the top of the statue’s base and gaze up through the glass ceiling. Though closed for security reasons for several years, visitors are now once again given the opportunity to go into the crown of the statue, though with no elevators this is no trip for the faint-hearted.

When it comes to sightseeing, New York contains some of the world’s tallest and most impressive buildings. Head to the top of one of these magnificent structures to see the high points of New York and we can guarantee you’ll leave on a high.

Marta Sanders-Cooper is the New York Destination Expert for Shorex, specialising in unique and unmissable, expert-led tours & excursions in major cities around the world, for the best in city sightseeing. New York tours are custom made and constructed from an extensive menu of activities, attractions and excursions, many of which are unique to Shorex.com.
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