If we told you we got up at 4:30 am to get on the subway, you’d think we were crazy, right? What if we told you that we were going to watch the sunrise from the 86th and 102nd floor observation decks at the Empire State Building?
Then, you’d probably say, “Wow, that’s amazing.”
On a beautiful crisp October day, we got off at the Herald Square subway station in the dark of the early hours of the morning and entered the world-famous Empire State Building to meet up with our group for the sunrise viewing tour.
What kind of photos can you get if you to go to the top of the Empire State Building to watch the day begin, from a thousand feet above the city? Check out our photos below as we lead you through the gorgeous views, expansive panoramic perspectives and incredible cityscape that we call home. Let’s begin.
We first went with our tour group up the very speedy elevator ride from the ground to the 86th floor observation deck, which has a height of 1,050 feet. It was before sunrise, and the sun was just making its way to the horizon such that the city was dark but the sky was getting lighter.
As we looked down (way down), the lights of nighttime were still on, as the city started waking up, but it was not quite yet the daytime working hours.
Looking out over the East River toward the east, we had to get our bearings straight, based on all the new buildings at the edge of the East Side. The city is constantly changing and the face of the cityscape is always getting a facelift, and it’s even difficult to keep up with the latest new builds and interesting architecture being finished.
Looking south, we saw the Freedom Tower rising above all else like a beam of light against the brightening sky.
As glimmers of light started to touch the buildings, rays of gold started to illuminate the glass exteriors of office buildings in Midtown Manhattan.
The 86th Floor Observation Deck has lots and lots of safety features like fencing, but it doesn’t feel ugly because it’s all so well done and well designed.
It makes you feel safe, except there’s still the risk of taking a photo on your phone and sticking your arm out. Don’t drop your phone!
Moving up to the 102nd Floor Observation Deck, we took a quick elevator ride and got off at a reflective and enclosed indoor viewing location with panoramic views.
The 102nd Floor Observation Deck at the Empire State Building is 1,224 feet above the ground and it definitely feels that way! We love being up high looking down at cities for ultimate views and perspectives, so this was ideal, as the sun started rising fast and creating incredible bright beams of light that reflected through the 102nd floor.
We went back down to the 86th floor to soak in some brighter vistas (and wind), with our coffees in hand and cameras ready.
Here are our shots of the sunrise as the light of day takes over the city. Here, you can see Stuy Town, Gramercy, Williamsburg (Brooklyn), the East River and rooftop details.
We couldn’t help but admire Lower Manhattan, as it rises from the neighborhoods north of it, along with the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the Hudson River and New Jersey.
Visiting the Empire State Building at sunrise is one of the top things you could do as anyone living in NYC looking for interesting things to do, or as a visitor to the city as you look for the best things to do that will create memories for a lifetime.
Being on top of NYC reminds you how beautiful and quiet the city is when you’re a hundred stories in the air on top of the hustle and bustle, traffic, people, cars and buses. It’s a great reminder that we are small, and it almost feels like being a bird with a birds-eye view of a city like New York.
If you’ve been reading our blog for a while now, you may know that we also visited the Empire State Building for a sunset viewing tour last year.
With our recent VIP sunrise tour to the highest observation decks at one of the tallest buildings in all of NYC, we consider ourselves lucky to have seen the sun come up in the east and go down in the west from one of the most incredible landmarks in the country.
To book tickets for viewing the sunrise at the Empire State Building observation decks, head to the ticketing website, here.
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Last updated on May 27th, 2022