You might know New York City's famed Rockefeller Center. Its centrepiece, the towering GE Building, is home to Tina Fey's phenomenally successful TV comedy series, 30 Rock and its here, in midtown Manhattan, where scenes of ice-skating families at the center's rink, in the shadow of the traditional mega-Christmas Tree, have featured in countless movies. Rockefeller Center is also home to the US NBC television network.
Out & About with Kids is delighted to have Sydney couple Michael Williams and Isabelle Walker onboard through July and August 2013, contributing a series of blogs on their first-hand experiences of the Big Apple, direct from New York City.
The day that I ascended to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck with Michael, NYC was in the final stages of a sweltering heat wave. Although the walk from the subway to the plaza, with the famous 30 Rock address, was hot and sticky, the air conditioning in the lobby of the grand New York icon was welcome respite.
The Rockefeller Center is steeped in history. Responsible for creating thousands of jobs during the depression, John D. Rockefeller Jr's masterful creation lies at the geographical centre of Manhattan. Rockefeller Jr's wife, Abby Aldrich, was influential in ensuring that artistic nuance, in the Art Deco style, was characteristic of her husband's building. The architecture tour, offered by the Center, gives a unique look at the art, the architecture and the implications of the two for the historic story of NYC.
A four minute documentary-style video sets the scene for the mountain of history and steel you are about to step on! You learn that the Rockefeller Jr's son, David, still works in an office above and the family's business and vision of philanthropy still carries on today.
The elevator zooms up the tower - almost 70 floors in 45 seconds. Neon lights dance around the glass-topped lift with a view into the shaft to give an idea of how quickly you are ascending. My ears even started to pop, like when a plane is taking off. On the 67th floor we take in some of the most breathtaking views of NYC and, arguably, the world.
From three different observation decks, the Top of the Rock offers a stunning vista of Central Park, the Bronx and Queens to the north, Brooklyn, the East River and the Chrysler building to the east, the Empire State Bulding, the Freedom Tower and downtown Manhattan to the south and New Jersey and the Hudson River to the west. The endless blue sky today stretches the view for miles outside the NYC limits.
It is almost surreal to view the city from the aspect that you've has seen in countless movies, or photographs, or in my case - dreams.
Afterwards, we relax in the shadow of the famous fountain in the Rock Center Cafe and Bar. Family friendly, with delicious desserts and drinks, it was especially welcome on a 30+ degree day.
The Top of the Rock gives a unique and unforgettable view of this most famous and magical city. High above the emergency services sirens and taxi cab car horns, the serene silence of sitting on top of Manhattan is awe-inspiring, humbling and once-in-a-lifetime.
Michael Williams and Isabelle Walker are currently holidaying in New York from Sydney. Michael is an Account Manager with a Bachelor of Business and this is his third time travelling to the US. Isabelle is a student of Politics & Anthropology with a keen interest in US Politics. You can follow her blog here.