Every once in a while, a good New Yorker has to come down from his or her holier-than-thou, nothing-fazes-me pedestal and partake in something known as the Double T – Tourist Trap. Knowing which Double T’s to take part in, and when, however, is an art, and one that all good New Yorkers have perfected in order to emerge on the other side completely unscathed. The factors in play? Location, timing, and of course, the company you keep.
One particularly beautiful pre-fall afternoon, my friend C visited the city from upstate. It was almost her birthday, and she had come to see an opera and to celebrate with L and me. As it turned out, C’s father joined us, and another friend, D met up with us as well.
I’m working backwards here – but there’s the company I was keeping when I dove into the DoubleT that Saturday afternoon. C from upstate, her father from Philly, L from Inwood, and D from the Upper West Side. The special thing about this group is that none of us were tourists. C used to live here (with me, actually, when we first moved to the city after college we were roomies in Sugar Hill), and her father grew up on Long Island, so the city and all its mysteries aren’t quite so mysterious to us. Which brings me to the main focus of the first point, the company you keep. In order to really enjoy the DoubleT, you have to be making a memory, not just visiting it for visiting’s sake. Of course, seeing the Statue of Liberty with an out-of-towner is refreshing as it can renew your excitement about living in this fabulous city, but it somehow doesn’t hold the same gravity.
In any case, we chose to do Top of the Rock that afternoon. When C and I lived together we had some guests from Germany, and as a thank-you for showing them a fantastic time they had bought us a gift certificate to Top of the Rock – so we thought it was about time we cashed in on it.
In case you’ve been wondering this entire time, Top of the Rock is the top of Rockefeller Center, which is between 5th and 6th Avenues at 50th Street. Other attractions in or around Rockefeller center include the skating rink (open only in the fall & winter), Radio City Music Hall and the offices of NBC. Rockefeller Center is also the focal point of the hit comedy TV show 30 Rock, starring Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin and Tracey Morgan.
So. We’ve covered location (Top of the Rock), and company. Timing is also important, depending on the DoubleT you’ve chosen. The staff at Top of the Rock does an excellent job of regulating the flow of traffic and crowd control, so in this case it’s the time of year that comes into play. Fall is amazing. What better place to see all the changing leaves in Central Park than from a bird’s eye view? In addition to Central Park and its mass of oranges and yellows, from Top of the Rock you can see from one end of Manhattan to the other – and beyond. Brooklyn, Queens, New Jersey and far up the Hudson River are all part of the view.
The other great place to get a bird’s eye view of New York is the Empire State Building. However, I’m a big advocate of doing Top of the Rock because when you take those iconic photos of our glittering city, you have the most iconic skyscraper in them as well. 😉
The DoubleT – not always the necessary evil that keeps New York’s economy going. When the timing’s right, you can have the most fabulous adventure of all!