My favorite observation deck is still Top of the Rock over the new, shiny Edge and all other observation decks because it simply has the best views of the NYC skyline including the best view of the Empire State Building. When you see a stock photo of NYC on a postcard or any website that chooses one photo to represent the entire city, that photo is almost always that same view of the Empire State Building as seen from the Top of the Rock. I would argue there is no more iconic view to be had in this city that never sleeps. When I heard that a new observation deck called Edge would open across from the Empire State Building and have an outdoor glass section, I had to book tickets and share my thoughts on the first day it opened March 11, 2020. I am going to break down why I still think Top of the Rock is better than Edge based on location, views and the overall experience.
Best views of the Empire State Building and Downtown Manhattan?
The Edge is far east on the island of Manhattan. The Edge’s view of the Empire State Building is partially obstructed by another newer building and what you can see of the Empire State Building above that building or from an angle is only the less iconic, skinnier side of the Empire State Building. Downtown Manhattan is also too far for most visitors’ cameras or phones and requires a serious zoom lens to appreciate those downtown or Statue of Liberty views. Note: neither technically allow a tripod so forget about zooming into this view with limited light at sunset or night.
The Edge seemed like a promising location, avenues across from the Empire State Building, until you see the views and look up how to get there from anywhere. There is only one subway, the 7 train to Hudson Yards, which means you usually have to transfer or walk an additional 20 minutes to get there through streets of construction areas. It is not nearly as convenient as Top of the Rock which is already adjacent to top tourist destinations like Broadway and Times Square. Top of the Rock is also easily accessible by more subway lines than any other observation deck, it’s that convenient to get there!
Which one is higher?
The Edge is 1,100 feet up on the 100th floor, higher than Top of the Rock located 800 feet up on the 70th floor. Still the height difference does not drastically impact the view and I prefer the view from Top of the Rock because of the location.
Which one is cheaper?
Edge is cheaper by $2 for adults coming in at $36 instead of $38 for Top of the Rock. They must have done this intentionally to have an EDGE on the competition, but trust me the $2 more is worth spending on Top of the Rock.
Visiting hours and ticket bonus day and night package?
Both decks do not have a time limit on your visit, so you can stay until they both close at midnight if you like. What I do prefer about the Top of the Rock is their unique upgrade bonus. They are the only observation deck I know that offers their “Sun & Stars” package which for only $13-15 more you can add on or upgrade your tickets to allow you to visit twice. If you want a shot in the morning and night but don’t have a few hours to wait and see the light change in front of you, you can leave go grab food, see other attractions and then come back when it’s less busy at night! I love this unique idea and have purchased it a few times when I wanted extra photos when photography friends came to visit.
Which observation deck is better to visit: Edge or Top of the Rock?
In the end there’s no contest for me, Top of the Rock beats Edge in the most important comparisons of location, view, and overall experience. I prefer the iconic views of the Empire State Building and skyline from Top of the Rock and think the location is much more convenient to get to. Would love to hear in comments below, what do you think?