|The Empire State Building as seen from the 86th floor observation desk of the building itself looking up towards to the pinnacle. Tuesday, May 22, 2012.|
Two of my students, "Free Spirit" and "Supremo," had been to New York many times. They both had family in the area, and for them New York City was sort of old hat. Kind of like how Orlando is for me, I suppose.
My goal was to blow their minds. I figured if I planned a trip that they found spectacular, I'd get the rest of the class for sure. By the time we arrived at Tuesday evening--our last night in New York--I wondered if I'd succeeded. I asked "Supremo" and got an unequivocal yes. I asked "Free Spirit" and she responded with a rather cryptic "yes and no." I wondered what she meant--wondered if she was referring to our being unable to see a Broadway play after all. It was one of the things we'd had at the top of our Must Do List in New York, but we just couldn't swing it. If the transportation costs hadn't been so much higher than anticipated we probably could have made it happen. But the funds weren't there, and I figured, our trip had already been so amazing we'd be all right without it. But now I wondered, if after all we'd done we'd really done enough. There were other things we'd wanted to do too--we really hadn't even scratched the surface of all that this great city had to offer.
|A tough crowd to please: "Supremo" on left, and "Free Spirit" on right.|
But the day was drawing to a close. We'd gotten back from our Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island tour around four and made our way to the South St. Seaport for dinner. Now it was after seven and we were determined to squeeze one more larger-than-life Experience out of our day before we began our long trek back to New Jersey. We headed for the Empire State Building.
By the time we arrived at the iconic skyscraper the sun had nearly set. By the time we had made our way through the lines (which were short in length, but many in number--line to entrance, line to first elevator to 80th floor, ticket line and security line, and line to final elevator), darkness had fallen completely and I was a little disappointed. I'd really wanted to take in the panoramic view in the daytime when we could really see. As we meandered through the inner bowels of the building admiring the beautiful Art-Deco interior design and the informative displays on the building and it's construction, I wondered what view could really be had at night? But the tickets had already been purchased the day before and there was no way I was going to throw that money away.
It turned out that the view was spectacular, and perhaps more grand, with entire city lit up in billions of lights and all the great New York City landmarks glittering before us: the Chrysler Tower, Rockefeller Center, the Flatiron Building, One World Trade Center rising in the south, the famous bridges, the neon glow of Times Square flashing off the canyon walls of the city, Central Park defining itself in negative space--a great absence of light stretching in the distance, and so many more definitive landmarks, all easily identified amidst the sparkling glow of the city.
|None of us got a proper panoramic shot from atop the Empire State Building so I ripped this one from the web, just to give a you a sense of what we saw. Still, the photo doesn't begin to capture the magnificent grandeur of the view.|
The 86th floor observation deck was packed--one had to wait at a turn at times to get a spot on the rail--but it felt strangely hushed to me, as if the very altitude muffled sound some how. A glance through the railing gave one a vertiginous thrill--the cars crawled inaudibly like ants below us, and bits of confetti like paper drifted in the updrafts.
The experience was truly awesome, and say we spent close to an hour just beholding the city from various vantage points and taking it all in. At some point during our time there, "Free Spirit" came to me and said "Mr. Maycock, you succeeded."
And that was enough for me.
And we still had the tour of NBC Studios the next day!
|Me and "Free Spirit" on the observation deck of the Empire State Building, Tuesday night, May 22, 2012.|