Rockfeller Plaza – New York (USA)

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The sunken Plaza

One of the most impressive things I’ve seen when I visited New York was the famous Rockfeller Centre, which is located in Midtown Manhattan, between the 5th and the 6th Avenue. It is really huge, at least from a European point of view, and it struck me for the glamour of the beautiful buildings and the mixing of private companies and business with leisure and tourism.

The Rockfeller Center is composed of 19 buildings and it’s the biggest private complex in the world. It includes some television studios (ex: NBC), head-offices of important companies (ex: Deloitte&Touche), shops (ex: a big Lego store with a reproduction of the whole Rockfeller Center made with the famous bricks) and restaurants&bars (ex: Magnolia Bakery…don’t miss their cupcakes!!!), but also art objects and architectural works.

John Rockfeller Junior started the construction works in 1930 and by 1939 the main 14 buildings were completed. During the 60s and the 70s other buildings were built along the Avenue of the Americas. The Rockfeller Centre was declared National Historic Landmark in 1987 and, since then, almost every tourist in New York comes here, because it has become one of the most iconic places in Manhattan.

I was especially impressed by two elements of the complex: the Channel Gardens in the Plaza and the stunning “Top of the Rock”, which is the observation deck on the top of the Comcast Building (30, Rockfeller Plaza).

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Channel Gardens

The Plaza is a really strange place and it has a sunken part which is dominated by an imposing golden statue representing Titan Prometheus. The part of the Plaza at street level has beautiful gardens with plenty of coloured flowers and water effects, which create a fresh atmosphere in summer. Flags from all over the world surround the Plaza, but on Memorial Day (the last Monday of May) the square is decorated by plenty of US flags in honour of the American soldiers who died while serving their Country.

Another remarkable thing in the Plaza is the Rockfeller plaque, listing the principles that were inspiring to the founder. For example you can read:

“I believe in the supreme worth of the individual and in his right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I believe that love is the greatest thing in the world; that it alone can overcome hate; that right can and will triumph over might”

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A starry sky at your feet: one night on the top of the Empire State Building (New York – USA)

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The Empire State Building at night

Since I was a child, one of my biggest dreams was to be in New York City and this year this dream has come true! This magic city gave me a lot of emotion and beautiful memories and one of the brightest ones is the staggering night landscape seen from the top of the Empire State Building.

It was a warm and windy night and we decided to spend it doing something we had read about and had us intrigued: going to the top of the most iconic New York skyscraper to enjoy the view of the city lights. If you are planning to visit New York, I would highly recommend you to have this experience, because what you see stepping out into the observation deck is going to leave you breathless: it’s like having a big starry sky at your feet and, no matter how you slice it, the atmosphere is surreal. I particularly enjoyed the view of lower Manhattan, where you can see the Freedom Tower in the distance and the confluence of the Hudson and the East rivers into the ocean.

Over the years, this art déco skyscraper has become one of the symbols of New York City. It stands in Midtown where 5th Avenue crosses 34th Street and, with its 443 m, it’s the second highest building in town after the new Word Trade Center. The Empire State building was also the highest building in the world until 1967, when the Twin Towers were built.

Its name stems from the New York State’s nickname, that is “Empire State”: the legend has it that Henry Hudson was so struck by the beauty of this territory that he exclaimed: “This is the new empire!”

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Lower Manhattan at night

To get to the top of the Empire State Building you have to stand in line for the security check, the tickets and the elevators and it can be a long wait, because it gets very crowded at certain times, but, if you want to speed it up, I suggest you to buy your tickets online. The best thing to do is to have a New York City Pass, so that you can choose in advance all the attractions you want to visit and skip the lines for tickets everywhere, saving your time and your money too, since you’ll get 15-50% discount.

For more information go to http://www.smartdestinations.com/new-york-attractions-and-tours/_d_Nyc-p1.html?pass=Nyc_Prod_Exp

Just another practical tip: at this altitude it’s very windy and it can be cold at night, even in summer, so don’t forget to take a sweater with you!

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Just like a starry sky