I had to get myself into an observation deck. I know these places are overpriced. I know that. And I embraced it. I took some time researching what would be the best observation deck. I decided the Top of the Rock would do – I wanted a view of New York from above that included the Empire State Building. And yes, I also paid extra to go during the sunset hours. I was indeed extra on this one.
How could there be any when one is given this view?
And these views…
I cannot speak of other observation decks, but the Top of the Rock provides a 360 degrees view that would you made fall head over heels in love with the city. From above, you’re suddenly in a dream. The dirty parts of the town become secret, hidden. All you see is its grandeur. A product of humankind. Suddenly you feel small. so small. But you also feel powerful. Privileged. You got to be there. You got to experience it, to see it. You feel almost as high as the skyscrapers surrounding you. You’re having an adventure in the concrete jungle New York is.
It was the end of my first complete day in New York City. The tiredness was getting to me. But I could not leave, I didn’t want to leave such a marvellous view behind. I wanted to photograph it with my eyes and tattoo it on my brain. Up there it was suddenly quiet, the noises below seeming so far away. In my reverie, I was often interrupted by people asking me to take photos of them with the amazing scenery behind them. Which I did, with no problem, almost in a haze.
When the sun finally started to properly set, I was awakened. Everyone around me went crazy, each one trying to get the best photo without letting anyone actually see. Don’t they know there is no photo capable of really capturing that moment? Don’t they know they are missing it, with all the struggle to get it right, behind an already dirty glass, and being pushed over by other tourists wanting to get the same?
My reverie was interrupted. The jungle was right there. Humans becoming wild, chasing after the best photo, the best view. And spoiling it for everyone else. Suddenly the heat became real again. It was still extremely warm, and my clothes were uncomfortably humid, stuck to my skin. I took the lift down. Left that place behind, but that moment of realisation of smallness and privilege stuck with me.
Still carrying my also sweaty camera, I photographed the golden Prometheus. And I stepped into the place where the famous Christmas Tree is put on every single year, dazzling New Yorkers and tourists alike, from there and from afar.