New York day 3 - how hard is it to get up the Empire State Building

We probably should read up on the Empire State Building before we get there.  But what can be so difficult about going up an elevator.  Right.

We walk three blocks and approach it apparently from the side.  We see the entrance, but it doesn’t look that big and grand.  We begin to walk further but there is a man who says -  “Do you want to go up the Empire State Building.”  Lesson one.  If someone asks you a question out on the streets of New York, and it is not for directions, move on.

He’s wearing a badge that says New York Sky Ride.  I’m inclined to keep going.  He smiles and says, ah I see you aren’t so sure.  I’m official I work for the New York Sky Ride.  He then tells us that rather than waiting for 45 minutes in line, we can go right in to the New York Sky Ride which takes 20 minutes and is great fun and then we will go directly up.  No thank you I begin to mouth, but Alysha is smiling at me.  I’m thinking – this is the independent daughter who was in Nepal for three weeks this summer – she’s pretty savvy.  Meanwhile, Mr. Sky Rider is still talking.  I say – I don’t want to go on a ride – I’ll get sick.  He says – oh, you are in a room, you aren’t going anywhere.  It’s not like being on an actual ride.  Alysha says – let’s go mom.  I say how much and he says $45 a piece.  And I say to Alysha are you sure.  And she nods her 19 year old head yes at me with an expression on her face that reminds me of her at age five.  So I pull out the credit card and hope for the best.

We walk in the building and are immediately greeted by another Mr. Sky Rider who is so sweet and kind.  He takes us down the hall and hands us off to Ms. Sky Rider who is even sweeter and kinder.  There is a small group of people with us now.  So I’m starting to relax a bit.  Though there is still a chance we are all being duped within the bowels of this building.

We are loaded into a preview room covered with small tv screens that show us flashing images of New York landmarks.  It lasts for about five minutes.  And then the doors open and we walk into another room with seats.  I don’t count them exactly but I think they’re roughly about six deep by eight.  Not a huge room.  We sit down and look at each other.  Guess it’s a movie.

The next Ms. Sky Rider in charge says, bring the bar down across your laps.  Bar?  A movie with a bar across our laps.  Hmm.  Okay.  We put it down.  Have fun says Ms. Sky Rider.  The lights go off and our seats rise up.  I guess to be more in line with the giant movie screen in front of us.

An image appears, Kevin’s Bacon’s voice starts talking and.  Woooooooooo  Aaaaaaaargh.  We are in a helicopter flying over New York, swooping this way and that and our chairs are bouncing crazy in coordination with the film.  Alysha and I look at each other in panic as I reach into my purse, and grab the Dramamine.   I can’t watch any kind of flying bouncy movie even in a seat that doesn’t move.  I used to think I was the only one in the world who had this problem and that I was a troubled soul.  But I’ve since learned that I’m not alone. (I googled “motion sickness movie theaters”).  Especially with 3-D.  I saw Avatar in 2D and made it through with the help of my little white pill.  But Ed wanted to see it in 3D at the Seattle Center Imax.  Even though I took one at the beginning and one midway through, I still couldn’t make it to the end.

We eat the Dramamine and it tastes gross like uncoated aspirin but we don’t care.   Kevin Bacon is having a blast, the Helicopter is now at street level.  People and cars are flying out of the way as we bash through the City down into the subway.  This movie was invented to terrorize.  Thankfully the Dramamine kicks in and neither of us ends up sick.

Finally it ends.  The bar lifts up.  The doors open and Alysha is the first person out of there.  We get around the corner and wait in line for the first elevator.  I thought we weren’t supposed to have to wait.  Alysha says – that guy lied to us – it was too a ride.  We decide he probably had never been on it and didn’t know.  He probably did know.  Too late now to do anything other than keep going up.   We wait until it’s our turn.  The elevator banks are really quite lovely.  The marble is polished and shiny.  We are graciously invited into our elevator car without being squished.  I compare it in my mind to going up the Eiffel tower where you are literally crushed together until there is no airspace between a single body.  And the French think we aren’t civilized.

We get up to the 70th floor and then they make us take a picture in front of a green background that will be turned into a souvenir for us to buy that we won’t.  Make it past there and are at another elevator bank.  Wait.  And then go up to the 86th floor.  We walk outside and there it is.  The most amazing view of New York.

The story could end here, but I think you should know what happens at the end.  We go back down the two elevators.  Look at our $20 souvenir pictures and say no.  Walk outside the main entrance and see the sign that says $19.00 to go up the regular way.  Yeah, we got had.