You can't beat the open-air sights from the Rock'.
$17 is a bit steep, but most any vacationer will find it very agreeable versus the other sights and attractions in NYC. Grab a good camera, head up the 60-flight elevator and enjoy.
TIP: If you must choose between this and the Empire State Building observatory, pick the Rock. Don't let the "taller" element of the ESB sway you, the Rock is in a better location and has open-air sightlines that are just simply a better experience. There's also more room to wiggle around other patrons.
Whether you're looking towards Jersey and the Hudson, Brooklyn and the East River, Uptown with Central Park, or downtown with the ESB and One World Trade Center, the "central" location of the Rock' make it crucial for first-time visitors of NYC and photographers alike.
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