Had not purchased an advance ticket so understood the delays could be lengthy. When purchasing the ticket at about 10.15am was advised that my visit time would be 11.50am and that there was no point waiting around as that would only add to the crowding in the area. On returning shortly before my allocated visit time I found the queue stretching a considerable distance through the passageway in the centre. Many of the people in front of me in the queue had visit times later than mine but this did not bring about a restructuring of the line of people. We moved at a snails pace for over an hour until we entered the actual waiting area for the lifts. Staff in this area told us that once we had entered the lift our visit would be straightforward with no more delays. As it turned out this was absolutely untrue. Full of expectation we entered the lift only to travel a short distance where we disembarked and went through a security check. Fair enough - but why not tell people this is part of the procedure. Then, and even more annoyingly, we had to queue to see three movies (compulsory) about the centre which further delayed our visit to the top. Several people near me in the queue had made the visit to the Top of the Rock their last activity before leaving NYC for overseas destinations. Like me they had accepted the time they were given as being the time they would travel to the top - not just the beginning of an extended waiting period. As they had taxis booked and international flights to catch a delay that extended more than two hours threw their plans into disarray. Only when a native New Yorker in the queue became quite belligerent with staff on behalf of the international travellers did staff do anything to assist the people with tight schedules.
All of these issues could have been overcome with honest and open provision of information. When I visited Disneyland more than 20 years ago they used the simple technique of signs showing how long people should expect to wait as they passed certain points. This system would have worked perfectly at the Rockefeller Centre. Alternatively allow the staff to tell the truth. The fact they lied to the waiting visitors in a very polite manner doesn't make the customer any happier.
Having eventually reached the top the views were exceptional and well worth seeing. It's a shame that a little bit of organisational competence could have made the whole experience so much more enjoyable.
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