NYC Date: Kiss at the Top of the Empire State Building

Valentine’s Day is a week away, so love is in the air. One romantic thing Alex and I have always wanted to do is kiss at the top of the Empire State Building. It’s beautiful and iconic, and it feels like something all New Yorkers should do.
The catch? We’re too neurotic: I’m scared of elevators, and Alex is scared of heights. Foiled!
But when Coach, inspired by their sensual new fragrance, asked us to share what love means to us, I figured it was time to bite the bullet and finally experience a kiss above our favorite city.
The elevator took us up 86 stories. I was nervous (that we’d get stuck in there forever, naturally), but Alex kept me calm.
At the top, we were nearly a quarter mile above the ground!
We felt giddy to be up there. New York City has been the backdrop of our entire relationship; we met at a party, went on our first date, fell in love, got engaged, got married and started a family in a tiny apartment—all in downtown Manhattan.
The views were stunning. (I’d also love to see it on a sparkling sunny day or late at night—the building is open until 2am.)
And there’s the kiss! We did it!
Have you been to the top? Now I know what we’ve been missing all these years! It was a wonderful morning….now we just had the elevator ride back down. :)

Thank you so much for the encouragement, Coach Love! And, in celebration of love, check out their adorable Facebook app and share the little things you love these days.

P.S. 7 NYC date ideas

(Sponsored by Coach’s new fragrance, Coach Love, a warm woody floral. Photos by Bonnie Tsang. Green swing coat by HATCH)

  1. I’m reading some of your old posts… and had to say: I don’t know what it is about the photo of you looking at Alex looking through the binoculars, but I think it’s the most beautiful photograph I’ve seen of the two of you! It’s so classic and sweet! xoxo


  2. Cute date! Awesome photos by Bonnie! I really love her work.

  3. You two are so cute! And the pictures are absolutely stunning!

  4. v says...

    Oh these photos are SO so beautiful!!!!
    Im off to NYC in just over a month and can’t wait!!

    P.S. last time i went up the top of the empire state building the lift down got stuck!!! scariest moment of my life!

  5. This is so ridiculously romantic. You guys are adorable.

  6. Your makeup looks gorgeous here. What are you wearing on your eyes and lips!?

  7. What lovely photos – love the love!

  8. my classmate’s mother makes $63 an hour on the internet. She has been fired from work for eight months but last month her payment was $12626 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read more here….. BIT40.COm

  9. Joanna you look so pretty. I will definitely share a kiss with my hubby at the Empire State Building the next time I’m in NYC.

  10. Thank-you for always telling such beautiful stories!

  11. This is the most adorable thing ever! Reminds me of Sleepless In Seattle.

  12. HY says...

    Very romantic! And Joanna, you look stunning! Glowing, lovely, and your simple eye make-up is to die for!

  13. I’m afraid I don’t find it very romantic to ‘spontaneously’ go on a date with a professional photographer in tow to capture the ‘personal’ moment, in order to sell a fragrance on your blog. Disappointed by this, and I usually love your blog, Jo. Sorry :(

  14. These are beautiful!

  15. gorgeous, stunning photos– of you and the city!! love this. so glad you guys faced your fears to have this beautiful experience. I’d love to do it myself someday… when I finally get to New York City!

  16. jm says...

    These photos are gorgeous and just made my day! Have a great weekend and Happy Valentine’s day! (ps brave going up the elevator!)

  17. You look so in love in the kiss photo! I can’t believe you got in the elevator — that must have been scary.

  18. This is one of my favorite personal posts of yours. That kiss picture is so absolutely stunning. I definitely want a picture like that with my one day husband wherever he is!!!!

  19. I think I speak for most of us here when I saw AWWWWWWWW! That’s so cool that you both had to conquer some fears to do something romantic. The pics really show how much you two really care for each other, especially in the face of a little fear/nervousness. Hope you have a great weekend!

  20. you look so beautiful! WOW!!! Lovely photos.

  21. Beautiful photography! Very romantic.

    I’d love to have some beautifully styled photos of me & my husband. I’m not sure how good they’d turn out though. I’m pretty awkward behind the camera, when being directed.

  22. Adorable!!! I’ve been to the Empire State Building with my husband (we were still dating) and we did the kiss.This post makes me wanna do again! NYC is special to me too. It is where I met my husband, where we got engaged and where my first child was born. They say Paris, it is the city for romance, for me is New York! Love the city!

  23. you are so pretty! i love Empire State Building :) don’t you just love that coat? i just got the one from previous season and adore it – SO. FLATTERING. and perfect for a little baby bump :)

  24. Lovely. Next time DH and I go to NYC (stepdaughter lives in the West Village), we’re going to have to go up to the top and kiss. Just to know we did it! And…I haven’t been to the Empire State Building since I was a child (I was born in Manhattan)!

  25. Joanna, you look more beautiful here than I have ever seen you look!!! Is it the baby in your belly? The adrenaline of conquering your fears? The glow of love??? That incredible coat and your hair looking fantastic? I don’t know but WOW!!! I feel like you are getting more beautiful every year I read this blog. :-) xoxo
    ps: These photos are so sweet and romantic I feel kind of WEEPY!

  26. I have never seen more beautiful pictures of you! Stunning!

  27. Love this post! You guys are adorable :)

  28. Oh no! I hope this was a one-off … normally I find the relationship between authentic content and advertisting is something you manage really well, but this left a weird taste in the mouth. I wish you all the best, sorry to sound negative.

    • I agree with Anna. I don’t want to criticize and normally enjoy the content … but… I just had to put in my two cents. The professional hair, makeup and photos denote what this really is – an advertisement. Which is fine I guess, but this is an advertisement masquerading as an authentic post. We are bombarded with enough advertisements, now we have to read between the line of each blog post we read too? The sad thing is that most commenters seem oblivious. No wonder advertisers are doing it. Frustrating. Disappointing. But I too wish you well.

  29. oh my god, I wish to be there again. beautiful story

  30. I’ve done it, in 2006, but not in Valentine’s Day. It was one of those unforgetable moments!!! That view is some how inspiring and breath taking.

  31. Time has arrived when you can share your love even with your elderly dear ones too with eggless cakes. Cakes baked especially without eggs can be delivered easily through with these special cakes. Eggless Cakes to India is getting popular with sites like that is concerned about customers’ requirements.

  32. OMG – the post reminds me of the movie The Truman Show!

  33. OMG – the post reminds me of the movie The Truman Show!

  34. This is the sweeeeetest. That smoochy pic better be framed somewhere in your house, im obsessed. You look so beautiful and glowy! Love your Hatch swag too <3

  35. L says...

    More advertising, what a pity.

  36. One of my dreams is to be on top of Empire State Building… A girl can dream right?
    Thanks for sharing, awesome pics!

  37. you look fantastic! and I totally love your makeup…

  38. I love your makeup! Are you wearing foundation? The almost kiss picture is so classy. I can’t stand the full on kiss pictures most couples publish and it’s such a happy medium.

  39. Oh my word. I have been reading your blog for years and these are the most stunning photos of you two. I absolutely love this. Totally worth you both facing your fears! Yay!

  40. such a sweet post and the photos are stunning! and i can almost feel your pain in the elevator photo…the idea of going so high up in an elevator even makes my stomach lurch and i don’t have a fear of elevators or heights! good for you two for facing your fears!

  41. Very sweet! I never seen anything like this before. The places was also beautiful.

  42. These photos are beautiful! I went to The Top of the Rock when I visited NYC but not the Empire State building. Have you seen the Valentines episode of the Mindy Project which aired Tuesday? She talks all about how how romantic the Empire State Building is.

  43. What stunningly beautiful pictures! Now that you’ve made it up there, you should try Top of The Rock. The view of the Empire State Building is amazing!

  44. This post makes my heart so happy! I’ve been to the top of the Empire but haven’t kissed there. Now you have me wanting to bring the beau back to NYC and make a special trip up!

  45. that is so stinkin’ cute. and you look so beautiful!! ( you’ve got a pregnancy glow!) i’ve been to the top, but it was rushed and with a friend of mine, not my hubby, so it didn’t have the same effect! but i like reliving my moment thru this post – the pictures are gorgeous and hopefully next time i’m in the city, i’ll take the ride up there with my love.

  46. I agree with some of the other comments. When a post looks personal and then it’s revealed to be sponsored, it makes the post seem disingenuous. I’d rather see sponsored posts that are actually about the fragrance and personal posts separately. The melding of the two is quite a sinister reflection of how capitalism works these days.

    • P.S. This sounds way harsher than I meant it. I love this blog and I’ve bought your recommended items many times. (But only from ads that look like ads or giveaway companies.) xoxo

    • I agree with you, Rachel. Turning a love story into an advertisement … well, makes me feel kinda sad. That is all.

  47. This is so sweet. You two are an adorable couple.

  48. You guys are adorable and Bonnie’s photos are amazing, per usual.

  49. All I have to say is that you look beautiful!!!! How fun. :)

  50. JC says...

    It is sad to see you go all commercial with this great blog Jo, I have loved your realness and non-advertising way in the past but I think it is time to move on to new and more creative bloggers as sponsors and making money seems to be your main priority these days. Thanks and Bye

  51. You two make me smile, you are so cute! And you look absolutely gorgeous, Joanna!

    I have been to the top of the Empire State Building once, when I was a kid, but this post definitely changed my view of it… I think I need to take Andrew back there for a nice smooch! And good grief, that view is amazing!

  52. what a wonderful idea. and you now have beautiful photos to remember that moment forever. and on a side note, I love your makeup here. gorgeous lady!

  53. love! you are so beautiful, Jo:) now I must go watch Sleepless in Seattle…..

  54. I had a kiss there too. Right after the hubs proposed to me :)


  56. beautiful post.

  57. How fun – love the pics! I’ve gone with my then-fiance, now-husband and we much prefer Top of the Rock. Less claustrophobic, nice to see the Empire State Building from up high right across from it and better organized. I always re-direct my friends/family when visiting from out of town to go there vs. the Empire State Building.

    • agreed!

  58. so romantic, joanna! perhaps you should have an anniversary kiss every year! (oh, and i second…third…fourth…others’ requests that you dish about your makeup. WOW!)

  59. THE best Valentine’s post EVER!

  60. what a beautiful post! i love that you did this, and did it together :) wonderful and inspiring!

  61. What a great date! The Empire State Building is my favorite perch. ;) You looked beautiful in these photos.

  62. The college I went to was in the Empire State Building so we went to the top all the time. One of the security guards became my friend and took my sister and me into to spire in our own elevator one time… for free. It will always be a special building to me.

  63. you two are adorable! If I were you, I’d be framing one of these sweet shots for our apartment :) Speaking of elevators, we just went up 73 stories to the top of the Westin in Atlanta where we live. There is a revolving restaurant and bar up there! It was totally worth the glass!! elevator ride up.

  64. The third to last photo is so iconic and gorgeous! They’re all beautiful, but that one is so amazing. Love it.

  65. Oh wow, how fantastic! Lovely photos. I’ve only been up the Empire State once, with a girlfriend – and we didn’t kiss!

  66. You look gorgeous!!

  67. Simply beautiful! Your makeup is stunning, will you share?!

  68. yes…i’ve been to the top… when i was a kid my dad always took us, and i took my kids too. at night it is BEAUTIFUL!!!!!

    you and alex are so cute!

  69. PLEASE tell me you watched The Mindy Project this week! The Empire State Building’s role in the storyline completely cracked me up.

  70. YAY!!!!!!!

  71. Gorgeous photos!! I love this post :)

    I cannot BELIEVE you have never been to the top….I live in London and have been up to the top of the ESB so many times!! Try it at night-time or sunset :)

  72. you guys are too cute. my cynical single self want to think this is cheesy, but you guys are so genuine, that I absolutely love your post!

  73. I 4th or 5th the request for eye makeup and lip makeup deets. You look great. The first (and only) time I’ve been up – October 2001, with the smoke from 9/11 still in the distance. (I was a tourist).

  74. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. So romantic and beautiful. Love this :) thanks for sharing.


  75. Your photos are adorable! :) I love the Empire State Building. My fiance proposed to me there last March. It was incredibly romantic and I felt so light headed (and from more than just the height). We have since move from Arizona to Brooklyn. :)

  76. Aw! This made me tear up. :) you are so pretty! and what a lovely thing to do together — all of your nyc history is so sweet. i just love this. xoxo

  77. This is the sweetest thing, Jo! Your relationship with Alex seems so wonderful, it’s great to watch you help each other and have so much fun.

  78. Oh my gosh you look so gorgeous and this is so romantic!

  79. This is so sweet. So amazing to conquer your fears!

  80. Stunning! xo

  81. So romantic! All the more meaningful that you both had to overcome fears to do so!

    I’ve only visited NYC once and the Empire State Building was one of the musts. Standing up there with the whole city in view is amazing. Glad you guys finally got to experience it!

  82. My husband and I were engaged at the top of the Empire State building two Christmases ago. We wrote each other letters, kissed, and then toasted on Broad Street with pink champagne (For all you Cary Grant lovers out there, you’ll understand!)

  83. This is so cute! Beautiful pictures. You definitely need to put one of those up somewhere in your apartment!

  84. What gorgeous photos and WOW perfect date idea!! I’ve only been to the empire state building once, but I have to take my boyfriend there now! I want that kiss!!! =)

    I have to check out the perfume too!! =)

    Ergo – Blog

  85. Such lovely pictures !

  86. The photo of your kiss gave ME butterflies! This moment was captured so beautifully, Joanna.

  87. Cute and so romantic! Lovely.

  88. Sweet photos, you love birds. What a cool date and both of you were so brave!

  89. please can you tell us about your makeup look in this article? what products you used? thank you!

  90. This is so sweet!! And I know you’re a Mindy Kaling fan – if you haven’t yet seen, you have to watch the latest episode, all about romance at the Empire State Building! I think you’ll get a kick out of it.

    — Liz

  91. *lovely* photos. beautiful you! such a sweet post.

  92. You look just amazing in these photos!

  93. You are adorable. Love your makeup, Joanna. And the coat!

    PS. Totally second Melissa on the girl crush.

  94. You’ve GOT to go back at night! The lights of the city are absolutely stunning and romantic. Yay for conquering your elevator fears. I don’t like them either. :)

  95. Ooh, what makeup are you wearing? You look so stunning. Beautiful photos!

  96. Joanna,

    Wow you are so classically beautiful. How is your skin so flawless? I’m shy to admit that you are my girl crush and when I have kids I hope I can have as much style and grace as you.

    xo! Melissa

  97. This post is so adorable! Every photo is stunning and you look lovely! Now I want to visit New York…with a boy. ;)

  98. Joanna–

    Firstly, these are beautiful! Secondly, who did your make-up? If you did it yourself, what did you use? I am always looking for ways to update my makeup and would love any tips. Thanks!

  99. It’s amazing up there I just love it, I’m from Greece and I visited my aunt last summer and i just HAD to go to the Empire State! :)
    p.s. you look really great in the pictures! You are a lovely couple :)


  100. Lovely pictures! You guys are so cute. I went to NYC for the first time last summer and my friend and I managed to get to the top of the Empire State Building RIGHT as the sun was going down! An incredible view made even better with a sunset. Can’t wait to visit again!

  101. this is great. the kiss photo is stunning!

  102. I recommend going up to the top of Rockefeller Center! Cost less than the Empire State Building, the line is MUCH shorter (I’ve been 3 times and have never waited more than 15 minutes), and the view is just as amazing!

  103. This is awesome — how exhilarating to conquer two fears at once and get to celebrate with a kiss at the end!

    By the by, have you watched this week’s Mindy Project? It’s all about kissing someone at the top of the Empire State Building! Serious synergy, haha.

  104. Adorable! My fiance and I were thinking about heading there after watching The Mindy Project and Suits. Both shows featured the Empire State building this week and I realized I have never been to the top! I’ve spent all these years living across the river staring away at it’s beauty.

  105. this is so wonderful, doing what scares you the most together<3

  106. Your make up looks so pretty!

  107. Joanna, You look absolutely radiant in these photos. Stunning!

  108. this is an amazing post, joanna. i love each & every photograph. and i’m sort of glad to have finally found someone else who is afraid of elevators! i think they’re terrifying. when i was little, my grandma would visit from illinois and take me on little one-night stays at fancy hotels in d.c. where we lived — a nice trip away from my 5 brothers. but i was so nervous to take the elevators that i’d make my poor grandmother walk up flights and flights and flights of stairs to the room. i feel pretty horrible about it now…but the fear hasn’t vanquished completely.

  109. What a cute, cute post. Super cute and romantic. I have been to the top, but my husband hasn’t, so is been a little dream of mine to take him. I agree about the kiss picture. You need to frame that one!

    The Cheeky Cafe

  110. so sweet. It’s so crazy that we’ve never been up there. We basically live in the shadow of it. Henry knows it well and points it out from various angles as we walk around our hood. Perhaps we should go up there as a family and perhaps sneak in a kiss….or two…

  111. BEAUTIFUL photography…you need to frame some of these!

  112. Those are great pics!

  113. That picture of your kiss is AMAZING!!! You look beautiful, and the picture is very sensual in a classy way :)

  114. This is SO SWEET! I love the ESB. I was in the city for three weeks over the summer and went to the top late at night. It was beautiful (albeit, crowded and chilly).

    Way to overcome and get your kiss ;)


  115. adorable!! good job conquering your fears in the name of love ;)