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There was a similar question for London... but what about New York City?

I'm mainly thinking (Midtown) Manhattan, but feel free to recommend awesome vantage points elsewhere in NYC too. If going to the place is free or cheap, that's obviously a big plus.

Including (or linking to) opening hours in the answer would be great.

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The Empire State Building is one that immediately springs to mind, are you thinking of places like that? –  Gagravarr May 4 '12 at 10:00
    
@Gagravarr: Sure, feel free to add an answer! (I'm of course aware there are tons of skyscrapers in NYC, but I have no idea which ones might have an observation deck of some kind that is open to public.) –  Jonik May 4 '12 at 10:38
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3 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

In addition to Empire State building which is currently the highest vantage point there is also Top of the Rock which from people who have compared the two offers better views then Empire State Building.

Top of the Rock is a 3-tiered observation deck on the 67th, 69th, and 70th floors of 30 Rockefeller Centre (the upper decks 260 m above the street level you get an unobstructed, 360 degree view of New York City). Enter on 50th Street between 5th and 6th Avenue.

Personally I haven't been on either since views from WTC South Tower roof deck were much better then either one of those 2 places.

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Thanks, I was just looking at this too – at least on Tripadvisor it has received lots of praise. If anyone here has first-hand experience of these places, please chip in! –  Jonik May 4 '12 at 16:33
    
The comparison I mentioned was done by my wfie. –  Karlson May 4 '12 at 16:38
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I've been on the Rockefeller Center a few years ago: Really a nice view plus you actually see one of the most impressive buildings in Manhattan: the Empire State building.

The Manhattan Bridge is free to access for pedestrians and offers a really nice view of Lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge!

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If we are talking about view of Lower Manhattan and the Bridges. Nothing beats Brooklyn Heights Promenade –  Karlson Sep 18 '12 at 14:01
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The one that springs immediately to mind is the Empire State Building. The main observation deck is on the 86th floor, which has 360 degree views over the city. There's also a smaller and fully enclosed observation deck on the 102nd floor; apparently the view is better, but you're indoors. I think it misses something not being able to feel the wind and see out without the glass, but YMMV! Wikipedia has a panoramic photo of the view, so you can get an idea of what the view's like. Two downsides though - for the 86th floor only it's currently $23, and there are normally long queues to get in, get up and get down...

There used to be an observation deck on the 107th floor of the South World Trade Center, which was very popular for photos and seeing Manhattan with the stairs leading up to the roof deck which offered magnificent 360o view of New York City and quite a bit surrounding areas on a clear day. The roof deck didn't quite go to the edge of the building but didn't have support columns in the way as the internal one on 107th floor.

The new One World Trade Center will, once complete, have observation area on floors 100-102. In a bit over a year you'll be able to see the view from there once again.

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In the old WTC 2 there was a roof deck. Looking down on flying small planes was fun –  Karlson May 4 '12 at 12:46
    
The old WTC roof deck was really great! But I'm not so sure if your joke is funny. –  RoflcoptrException May 4 '12 at 12:52
    
I never got to go - queue was too long the only time I tried :( If someone who did go and knows exactly what the observation deck/roof/etc sitch was could edit the answer, that'd be great! –  Gagravarr May 4 '12 at 13:35
    
@Roflcoptr It wasn't a joke. On WTC 2 if you were on the roof the single engine private planes were flying lower then the roof level. Did you think I was talking about jets? :) –  Karlson May 4 '12 at 16:09
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