I don’t really like looking like a tourist. Something of a problem when you’re standing outside the Empire State Building, feeling cornered into paying for optional extras on your trip to the top, when all you want to do is slink off to the normal queue and not have to deal with Michael, the most enthusiastic man alive. Add to this dilemma a boyfriend rendered partially deaf by the flu.

Things being as they were, Michael took our money and led us off to a secret entrance (fortunately involving a lot less murder than I feared). He bellowed in our ears and seemed very disappointed that we were being British and not really getting into the spirit of things. It turned out that we’d paid for the NY Skyride, which is described on its website as a one of a kind tourist attraction. This is very true.

Empire State Building
Empire State Building

The Skyride

First up came standing around watching a video where a woman showed us her favourite spots in New York. Obviously these were the classic tourist locations. One of the highlights for her was a spot on the high line which she described as ‘street theatre’ – it was a window overlooking a street.

Afterwards, we were taken on a helicopter simulator, which hadn’t been updated since 9/11 (or, as Michael referred to it, ‘what we call 9/11’). They claimed that this was because they wanted to show that the terrorists hadn’t won, or something similar, but I felt that it might have been more about saving money.

For some reason, our simucopter ride was narrated by Kevin Bacon. We booted it around New York, before wasting about 10 minutes going underwater, then going into space, before just kind of dicking around on our journey back down to earth. It was all quite strange. By the end most people on board were laughing in that hysterical way which is usually closely followed by tears. Next up was the obligatory tourist photo opportunity. Sadly I can’t show you our photo, because it is the worst picture ever taken.

The Observation Deck

View from the Empire State Building
View from the Empire State Building
View from the Empire State Building
View from the Empire State Building

‘Eye of the tiger, baby. It’s observation deck time!’, cried the lift guy, as we were ushered inside. Indeed it was!

We were soon on the top, checking out the view. It was impressive, but if I’m honest, I was a bit distracted by people watching. ‘He got Shaniqua runnin’ round like a chicken wit’ she head cut off’, said one lady, chatting on the phone, like thats a perfectly normal thing to be doing on top of the Empire State Building.

Empire State Building Innards
View from the Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is a must see for most people visiting New York. Personally, I wasn’t sure if the Skyride really added much to my trip, aside from confusion. After looking at the prices, I think that if the normal queue is long, its probably worth getting a crazy simucopter ride thrown in with skipping the queue. It’s only four dollars more than the express lift pass.

Observation Deck $32
Observation Deck with Express Lift $55
Skyride with Observation Deck $59

 

Have you been on the Skyride? Have you recovered? What did you think?