An Empire State of Mind

Back in my junior year of high school, my family took a trip to NYC. We went up the Empire State Building, but I have no recollection of that experience. You’d think that by age 17 I’d remember things like that. But my own memory cannot be trusted. And this is why I take many pictures.

This time I made sure to do it right by taking about a million pics while standing 86 floors above the city. If you’ve never been up the Empire State Building, now you don’t have to! Just kidding, hope you’ll only be more inspired to go be a good tourist after seeing what it was like:

New York City from Empire State Building
The lone Freedom Tower

Did you know the Empire State Building is only the second tallest tower in NYC? The tallest one is – yep, you guessed it – the Freedom Tower. Though I think it’s kind of cheating when you consider the pointy stick to be part of the height…

New York City from Empire State Building

New York City from Empire State Building

Haha there’s my aunt rockin’ those headphones, listening to the audio guide in Chinese.


So the cool thing was all directions and four corners were accessible to viewing. Therefore, visitors could essentially get a 360 view of New York. I know Top of the Rock claims the same thing, but when I went last summer, I noticed that the corners views were obstructed (read more about that adventure here). So in my opinion, the Empire State gave an even greater view. However, if you want to get a shot of this building in it, go to Top of the Rock!

New York City from Empire State Building
Overlooking the East River

New York City from Empire State Building

I am able to only identify three towers in the city: Freedom, Empire State, and Chrysler. If you are more knowledgeable than I, please share the power! For example, I’m forever wondering what’s that pointy building next to H&M?

New York City from Empire State Building

New York City from Empire State Building
These next few shots feature one of the three towers I can recognize – Chrysler. If you need help identifying it, check out this gif!

New York City from Empire State Building

New York City from Empire State Building

New York City from Empire State Building
Oh Central Park, my Central Park! So sad I didn’t have time to visit you this trip!

And then we were back by the East River.

New York City from Empire State Building

New York City from Empire State Building
Anyone know what’s that gold-capped building?

I was quite pleased with the way these pics turned out. Despite common belief, it’s a lot easier to take pictures in cloudy weather than in sunny. With less harsh shadows, the buildings’ true colors are able to come through. Have you been up the Empire State Building? Where do you like to admire NYC?

Logistical Info:
Cost: $25
Where: 350 5th Ave, New York, NY 10118
Other: no tripods

Thanks for reading!

P.S. See more views of NYC from Top of the Rock observation deck

  • I totally agree, the views from the Empire State Building are amazing, but I have to admit that I like the pictures with the Empire State Building in them from Top of the Rock too. I also love going to the top of the Empire State Building at night because I think the lights are so beautiful, but you definitely miss out on the view.

    • Huh, I’ve never been up there at night. I can only imagine how beautiful NYC looks like from above at that time though!

  • Kim

    Yes! I’ve forgotten many of my memories from NYC because while I did take photos, I lost them when my laptop crashed and I lost all my photos. Photos bring back so many memories and it’s not the same to look at someone else’s photo. Your own interpretation and view of the experience is so powerful!

    • That is probably the saddest thing to ever happen to a photographer. I feel for you! Hopefully you’ll get to visit again and take more photos!

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