They call it the "panorama from the top of the world," that is, the view from the recently reopened observatory at the top of the building at 30 Rockefeller Center in New York City.
It's not free, of course, but it's a ride and a view you're likely to remember for the rest of your life.
The first thing you'll find, if you're like us and went in the wrong door, is a huge Wella hair salon. From there, you'll find someone helpful to direct you back on to the street and to the cheerful, welcoming caretakers of the Top of the Rock Observation Deck experience.
And, don't worry about finding the perfect souvenir to help you remember your amazing trip up and back to earth, there are plenty of gift shops at nearly every turn.
There are three levels of observatory. Each level gets a bit more windy than the last ... and that's on a mild day. But you can almost see forever. You can always duck into a gift shop to warm up.
North you can see Central Park and Harlem. If you knew where to look, you might even see tony Greenwich, Connecticut, or down-to-earth Bridgeport. Who knows?
South you can see the Empire State Building (whose observatory is much more cramped than here, we're reminded.)
Harborside & the Coke can, Jersey City, N.J.
And off to the right, there's the Coke can (not bottle) of the Goldman Sachs building, the Jersey City Harborside complex, the Statue of Liberty (though quite small from this distance) and New York Harbor.
Across to the west you can see Snake Hill in the middle of the Hackensack Meadows, and the Giants stadium looks like a little nothing in the roll out hills of eastern New Jersey.
I bet on a clearer day, I could practically see my house. Or at least the Hoffman La Roche towers around the corner.
The wall side of the great tree
Sorry, you cannot take a branch from the big tree. What if EVERYONE took just one branch? See what I mean. Anyway, you might want to note that the tree, lately of Wayne, N.J., was recently delivered to Rockefeller Center and was being secured in place as we overlooked the city from up on high.
Warm-ups on the ice
This scene always reminds me of that old novel Catcher In The Rye. You remember Holden Caufield took the girl to the rink and they rented ice skates.
I always thought that was such a cool date.
Adjusted for inflation, in 2005, a lunch at the Rock Center Cafe might include a $3.00 soda and an $18.00 Cheddar Cheese Burger.
And well-worth it, too, because you can watch the nearly famous ice skater through the window and wonder aloud if you should know who she is, or will you see her on TV some day?
Fame, it is fleeting, and ice melts.
If this is someone famous, please tell us. After all, she had her own film crew, and a lot of the people in the crowd were pleased with her twirls and spins.
Copyright © 2005 by Anthony Buccino, all rights reserved. Content may not be used for commercial purposes without written permission.
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