CityPass: The Luxury of Time
I was already impressed with the CityPass concept because it offered authentic bargains: I didn’t realize it also provided the luxury of time, not to mention VIP treatment at major attractions. First, the facts; CityPass books are available for a number of cities and areas: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Hollywood, Houston, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Southern California and Toronto. Each book bundles admissions to the area’s leading attractions, which, if purchased separately, would cost substantially more than the price of the CityPass book.
"I was already impressed with the CityPass concept because it offered authentic bargains: I didn’t realize it also provided the luxury of time, not to mention VIP treatment at major attractions. "
The New York CityPass, currently priced at $79 for adults and $59 for kids includes passes to: the American Museum of Natural History & Rose Center; the Guggenheim Museum; the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA); the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Cloisters; the Empire State Building Observatory, and either a choice of Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises or the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The Pass is valid for nine days and also includes money-saving coupons, tips on the best times to visit and how to skip the main lines.
I had two memorable experiences with the New York book. With my grandson and his parents in tow, I headed for the American Museum of Natural History during a school holiday period. Yes, I know that’s not a great time to visit a top attraction in a busy city crowded with visitors. But when else do you take a school-age child without suggesting that he skip school?
Anyway, when we got there, the line was horrendous, snaking down the block as far as the eye could see. We were, to say the least, discouraged. But wait – the guard called out: "CityPass holders, this way" – and just like that, we cut the line! And then we cut another line – the one to buy tickets. There was a special window for CityPass holders, and all we had to do was hand in our coupons and receive an admission ticket, along with an appointment for the Rose Center (planetarium) show, which turned out to be Cosmic Collisions, an incredible program narrated by Robert Redford. My grandson, who doesn’t impress easily, along with my son and daughter-in-law, seemed to believe I had performed some sort of urban magic to get us into both the museum and the planetarium with a minimum of fuss and inconvenience on a day when the place was literally packed with people.
Fast forward to our next experience: the Empire State Building Observatory. This time, because the weather was cloudy and chilly, there was no huge line, but still we sailed through with what seemed truly like VIP treatment. Though visibility was reduced to about 10 or 15 miles, that was more than enough to enjoy the dazzling views and the superb audio-tour, for which there is normally an extra charge, but which is complimentary with the CityPass coupon. Once again, my family was impressed and we all had a great time. If that isn’t luxury, I don’t know what is.
PS Yes, we also enjoyed the other New York City attractions, but these were the ones my family appreciated most.
For more info see www.citypass.com