The Empire State Building All to Myself


The other day, I took advantage of the beautiful sunny day and the still mild temperatures, here in New York we call these days "Indian Summer", to climb the Empire State Building and also visit the new 102nd floor reopened to the public after the renovation on October 12th, 2019. .. it seems like a lifetime ago!

The Observatory on the 102nd floor is a real gem and offers a completely new and ... unique experience, but I never thought I'd have the whole floor to myself.

Go up to the 102nd floor of the Empire

Always alone, I go to the elevator that takes me to the 102nd floor. To think we were all thrilled when the Empire State Building (ESB) announced its reopening in October 2019, completely reinvented from top to bottom. The 102nd floor is closed and air-conditioned, has 24 windows over 6-foot high, and is perfect for all seasons. Give 360-degree views of the city and beyond, from the heart of New York City.

The Empire and the New Yorkers

After overcoming the first sense of discomfort in finding no lines at the ticket office, I headed for the elevators ... The ride up, alone, with just the attendant, gives me the opportunity to have a chat.

Every time I have visited the Empire (dozens and dozens of times) both with family, with school, and then as a tour guide with my clients, between the long lines and the tight schedules I have never stopped to talk to the staff other than the classic "Hey, how ya doing?" and "Have a great day, thank you for coming" ... But yesterday, for the first time, I had "full conversations" with my fellow Newyorkers ...

Among the staff there are those who were born in Costa Rica and then arrived in NYC, there are those who are natives of NYC and have gone from the Lower East Side (Manhattan) to Brooklyn and Queens, there are those who come from neighboring states -- i.e. New Jersey.

Everyone speaks at least two languages, English and something else. We talked about how different things are because of COVID, how we all hope that we will soon return to normal, how we are really looking forward to it, but also how New Yorkers are slowly "rediscovering" their city.
In the total absence of tourists, they are the ones who come to visit the attractions often considered too touristy to be seen. People who may live a few hours away from the city and have never come downtown to visit Manhattan and its icons are now the new visitors at the Empire State Building.

The absence of lines, of regular frenzy, of tight schedules, allows us to talk, to discover our stories, and how many things we have in common. Obviously, we're talking about politics, the elections, the new President, how they saw New York celebrating from their 86th and 102nd floors last Saturday when the news of Biden elected as the 46th president broke.

Well ... - maybe this is something that not many people know - we New Yorkers LIKE to talk. While it is true that we basically spend our lives working and running from one place to another, talking to others, even if only for 5 seconds in line at the supermarket, getting on the bus or running to the subway, is something that sets us apart. In addition to loving their city, true New Yorkers love their fellow New Yorkers; it is that simple "nodding" that we give to each other when we meet our eyes in the street, it is that roll of eyes when we hear something completely "Whack," it's that laugh we share at the street corner .... And yesterday I had the pleasure of spending 2 hours up with them, and even if the view is always incredible, what I will remember most will be our chats ... as we always say: WE ARE NEW YORK STRONG! OR TOUGH ... as you prefer! LOL

YES, we hope we will soon return to normal, here in New York and around the world, and we really want you to come back so we can welcome everyone!

To know a bit of its history and some anecdotes: Empire State Building - Discovering the iconic King Kong building.