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There are two kinds of vacationers: planners and pantsers.  The planners want to plan out the entire trip.  They want to know there will be things to do and see so no one gets bored.  The pantsers don't want to plan anything.  They want to make things up as they go so no one gets stressed or feels like they =have= to do something because it's vacation.

Usually I'm more of a pantser on vacation.  I'll plan for big events ("On Thursday we'll go to Mackinaw Island"), but for the rest, I'd rather let things happen.  Darwin is a total pantser.  He never wants to plan a single thing.  This actually drives me crazy--there are always a few events I want to do on vacation or some things I want to see, and they take planning.

This was why we were at the Empire State Building.  I wanted to see it, and that was that.

(Side note: we actually wanted to see Liberty Island and that big statue they have over there, but it turns out you need to make reservations months in advance, so that didn't work out.)

Darwin is acrophobic, so the ESB would seem an odd choice, but I pointed out that you can see the whole view while enclosed, if you want, so he was finally amenable.

Tickets to the Empire State Building cost $50 to $65 and they get about 40 million tourist visitors per year. In other words, tourists bring in between $70 and $85 million in ticket revenue.  And that's just tickets. There are souvenirs and photo stands and other stuff galore.

There's also a museum of sorts as you head toward the elevators, and you would think it would be interesting, but it's as dull as a Chicago Cubs game.  It's all about how much electricity and water the building uses, rather than interesting things like how many people tried to commit suicide by jumping off it (32 known, in case you were wondering, not counting two people whose falls were broken by ledges, securing their accidental survival).

Darwin and I had opted for the slightly more expensive trip to both balconeys, the ones on the 86th floor and the one on the 120th floor.  We joined the line (which was surprisingly short, but perhaps Friday evening is slow at the ESB) and we zipped up the first elevator.  I asked the elevator operator if his ears popped all day, and he said ruefully that he couldn't get them to fully unpop until he got home from work in the evening.

The view from the 86th floor was, of course, magnificent.  The inside glass-walled balcony that rings the building gave a wonderful view of all Manhattan in all directions.

And then something amazing happened: Darwin said he wanted to go outside.


So we did.  Darwin enjoyed the view from outside while I played Danger Boy at the edge.  The weather was perfect, the sun was setting--a glorious evening.

And then we went up to the 120th floor.

Up there, you can't go outside and you're fighting a crowd, but you can see in all directions.  Darwin and I shared a kiss as the sun set over the city.

And then we came back down, ears popping as we did.


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