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Empire State Bldg questions

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Jan 8th, 2014, 12:21 PM
  #1
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Empire State Bldg questions

We are visiting late March. I plan to buy our tickets online and we will go late in the evening after dinner so 11pm -12am. Here are my questions:

1. Do we need the express pass to avoid the elevator line at this late hour?
2. Is it worth it to go to the observation deck as well or is the first stop high enough? (I have been before during the day but don't recall if we did both)
3. Anyone had experience going as/with an off duty, armed officer? We will have one with us from CA and want to avoid any issues through security.

Thanks!
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Jan 8th, 2014, 12:32 PM
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Most everyone recommends the Top of the Rock over the ESP. Better views (which include the ESP), smaller crowds, etc.

>>3. Anyone had experience going as/with an off duty, armed officer? We will have one with us from CA and want to avoid any issues through security.<<

NYC has very VERY stringent conceal/carry laws - essentially not allowed. I don't think they honor conceal/carry permits from other states. But I don't know how that affects a sworn officer.
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Jan 8th, 2014, 12:37 PM
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My kids insisted on Empire State Building. We went at about 8 pm in June so we'd see sunset. It was swarmed with people on the lower deck. My 11 year old couldn't see much.

The upper observatory is nice because few people do it, so the worker up there is far more helpful pointing out buildings and bridges and what they are.
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Jan 8th, 2014, 12:44 PM
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Off duty officers are recently (last few years) exempt from local restrictions and can carry anywhere in the US any time (this wasn't always the case). I emailed ESB directly for more info on how this will affect him through security. Thanks!

Forgot to mention that we will be doing Top of the Rock as well but during the daytime for that one.
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Jan 8th, 2014, 12:46 PM
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I've tried to answer your questions below.

1. Do we need the express pass to avoid the elevator line at this late hour? YES, THIS IS SPRING BREAK SEASON, AND ALL THE STUDENT GROUPS GO HERE. LINES CAN BE LONG EVEN AT 11PM.
2. Is it worth it to go to the observation deck as well or is the first stop high enough? (I have been before during the day but don't recall if we did both) NO, I DON'T THINK IT'S EVER NECESSARY TO GO TO THE HIGHER DECK, AND I'VE BEEN TO BOTH. THE VIEWS JUST AREN'T THAT DIFFERENT.
3. Anyone had experience going as/with an off duty, armed officer? We will have one with us from CA and want to avoid any issues through security. GUNS ARE NOT GENERALLY ALLOWED IN NEW YORK STATE, EVEN FOR OFF-DUTY POLICE OFFICERS AND MILITARY PERSONNEL, AND YOU WILL HAVE PROBLEMS AT BOTH THE AIRPORT AND AT THE ESB, WHICH VERY LIKELY DOES NOT ALLOW WEAPONS FOR OFF-DUTY OFFICERS.
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Jan 8th, 2014, 01:06 PM
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Confirmed with ESB directly no weapons past security for off duty.
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Jan 8th, 2014, 01:46 PM
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Really curious as to why a police officer from California would need his service weapon with him in New York. Is he driving?
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Jan 8th, 2014, 02:14 PM
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Police officers routinely travel with their fire arms, even when on vacation. And they have been arrested at NYC area airports as they announced that they are packing their weapons in their checked bags (since most fire arms are not allowed in NY State), as have off-duty military personnel. It's not at all illegal to pack unloaded weapons in your checked luggage as long as you declare them, but if you go to a jurisdiction that doesn't allow them or recognize other state's permits, you can be in a world of trouble, and I'd hate to see that happen to anyone.

I remember last year, one guy put his gun under a cushion of a chair at the Club Quarters hotel across the street from the 9/11 Memorial. It was discovered, the hotel lobby was locked down, and he was eventually charged with carrying an illegal fire arm. I can't recall if he was off-duty police, but we take our gun offenses very seriously in NYC.

This isn't Texas, and I think a lot of people who are used to carrying fire-arms in plain sight are often surprised at how stringent our laws are here and how serious the police take the laws, even when off-duty police officers are concerned.
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Jan 8th, 2014, 06:00 PM
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I'm not sure what you mean by an "armed officer" but unless they are a NYC police officer they CANNOT carry a firearm in New York City. Even if they are a police office from another area they are not allowed to carry a concealed weapon.

This is a felony and is taken very seriously, with long prison sentences.

Being armed in NYC is simply NOT an option without a specific gun permit issued by the city after a full investigation for the need.

And understand that "concealed weapon" weapon includes not only any firearm but also any knives that are much bigger than a regular swiss army knife.

If the "armed officer" is a member of the NYPD with appropriate credentials is should not be a problem.

Separately, I think Top of the Rock has better views and would do it to avoid the lines of ESB - which can be long at any time.
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Jan 8th, 2014, 06:05 PM
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Sorry - there was a tourist at the 911 memorial - last yea I believe - that had a gun in her purse. As soon as someone saw it she was arrested (highly indignant and not taking it seriously) and it was only through a lot of maneuvering that she was not charged with a felony - but was allowed to leave the city immediately - without her gun, which was never returned.

People do need to learn that in NY gun laws are taken very seriously.
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Feb 21st, 2014, 03:38 PM
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Thanks all, sorry for the late response. I appreciate the candor on the weapon question! He will be reaching out to the local authorities regarding his weapon but by federal law he can carry it concealed in all 50 states...obviously there could be an issue at any time that he would have to work out but that is his choice
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Feb 21st, 2014, 05:19 PM
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Unless he is a federal marshal he CANNOT carry a concealed weapon in NYC without a city permit. Period.

If he is a federal marshal - he may be able to - but why in the world would anyone take a gun on vacation? But then he better be prepared to prove that's who he is and warn everyone in advance that he is carrying - since many sights in NYC have strict security, examine all packages - and would immediately subdue anyone carrying a firearm.

One of my uncles was a cop - a NY State Trooper - and in his entire career he only fired his weapon once - at a guy who was about to attack him with a baseball bat - and then only shot him in the leg. He was an absolute believer that no one but fully trained law officers should ever be allowed to handle guns.
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Feb 21st, 2014, 06:16 PM
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Sorry, but I'd be looking for someone else to travel with. This guy sounds like a nut case.
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Feb 21st, 2014, 06:51 PM
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Why would someone on vacation even take a gun with them. I don't understand. Here in NZ policemen only get issued guns if there is an Armed Defenders Alert and then only those from that unit get given them. This person is not even going to be on duty. It is bizarre.
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Feb 21st, 2014, 06:57 PM
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>> It is bizarre.<<

In the US many (maybe even most) off duty peace officers carry . . . But they don't when visiting New York. Plain an simple.
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Feb 22nd, 2014, 05:45 AM
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Well here all cops carry guns while on duty. And many cops do carry a concealed extra weapon while off duty in their own area (city, state, whatever). But I'm not aware that they attempt to take them on vacation to other places - especially places with strict gun laws.

And I just had another horrible thought. Perhaps this guy is a bounty hunter - who seem able to flout a lot of rules. But in NYC - even they are NOT allowed to carry guns. There is no way I would go anywhere with a guy carrying a gun.

(In NYC there have been quite a few instances of off-duty police officers foiling crimes with their "personal" gun. I beleive the latest was a cop having her hair done who foiled an armed robbery of the beauty salon, capturing both miscreants single handed - with her hair all done up in rollers. But she was a NYC cop and entitled to carry the gun.)
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Feb 22nd, 2014, 12:03 PM
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Actually, it appears dvlish is (unfortunately) correct. Law enforcement officers are permitted to carry their weapons across the fifty states. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_Enf...ers_Safety_Act

New York lost a case in 2006, People v. Rodriguez, on this issue!
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Feb 22nd, 2014, 02:46 PM
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I like the views from the Empire State building - far superior to the Top of the Rock as far as appreciating the greater NYC and surrounding skyline but I also like the Top of the Rock for getting closer views of some rooftops, etc.

Many off duty police officers are required to carry in their jurisdictions - and to some - it's just a ingrained habit - much like you might take an umbrella if you thought it was going to rain, whatnot.
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Feb 22nd, 2014, 04:32 PM
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Carrying a gun so you can kill someone on a moments notice is like carrying an umbrella to protect you from the rain. Ok. I'll have to take your word for that.
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Feb 22nd, 2014, 07:48 PM
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That are ridiculous statements. Quite exaggerated at best.

Police Officers go through rigorous training and deal with less than kind/unstable people on a daily basis. The kind of people that you fortunately do not have to deal with because there are those who have sworn to deal with it. For many in that line of work they do have a very cautious/pessimistic outlook on life due to the things they have seen and encountered daily for their career. Carrying a gun has nothing to do with 'killing someone on a moments notice'.

If you or someone you loved were out in public and a visibly unstable person became a threat to those around, would you rather take your chances and wait for local law enforcement to arrive or by chance, if there is an off duty officer in the area, with specialized training in how to handle these situations, would you prefer if they stepped in to help disarm the situation. Seconds can make the difference between life and death.

Trust me, 'Killing someone on a moments notice' is the last thing an off-duty officer wants to do. They have taken an oath of sorts, and yes, it is ingrained in them. You are never really 'off duty', regardless if you are on vacation or at home in your living room.

There are always people who feel it is their right to bash law enforcement at every turn, and nothing I say will change that or your opinion (obviously very very low) of law enforcement. They are also usually the first to complain that help did not arrive soon enough when they have a situation they cannot handle.
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