NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – After a long 15 months, New York state is no longer under a state of emergency.
Most COVID restrictions were lifted last week when the state reached its goal vaccination rate.READ MORE: Suspected Human Remains Found In Florida Wildlife Preserve Where Authorities Are Searching For Brian Laundrie
But what does that mean for visitors at New York City’s top attractions? CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis went to find out.
There’s nothing quite like the view from the top of the iconic Empire State Building, and it’s a journey to get there. From animated elevator rides to interactive exhibits, visitors can get the full observatory experience, now that the state’s COVID restrictions are lifted.
“If you haven’t visited us since December 2019, you do not know the Empire State Building observatory,” said Jean-Yves Ghazi, president of the Empire State Building observatory.
That’s because it had just completed a major overhaul before the state shut down.
WATCH: NYC & Company Executive Vice President Chris Heywood discusses summer events taking place across New York City —
While visitors returned in July, interactive components like being able to look into the viewfinders wasn’t an option until now. While you’re at the Empire State Building, you can use a new touch screen, “Above and Beyond,” and it will help you come up with a whole itinerary for while you’re enjoying the city.
DeAngelis’ itinerary took her to the Immersive Van Gogh exhibit at Pier 36. Guests can take in a modern spin of classic works from socially distanced circles, and now the exhibit is ready to welcome even more visitors.
“We’re going to do it slowly. We’re going to do it cautiously. We’re going to test adding a few more people and a few more people,” said Immersive Van Gogh producer Corey Ross.
Masks are still required there, but no more temperature checks.
“It still has to feel safe and it still has to be an enjoyable experience,” Ross said.
Those who enjoy the outdoors are loving Little Island.READ MORE: New York City Mayoral Candidates Eric Adams, Curtis Sliwa Meet For First Debate
“It’s a nice little oasis in the city,” said Westchester resident Alexa Savino.
The new public park on the Hudson has also lifted restrictions, as did “The Beast” boat ride.
“We’re on this really fun boat called The Beast, and we’re having so much fun,” said Brynne Deutsch.
“It just feels like old times,” said Rina Gross.
“Yeah, and free,” said Deutsch.
The friends were celebrating that feeling, speeding toward the symbol of our freedom – the Statue of Liberty.
The ride is run by Circle Line, which has its sightseeing cruises back at full capacity.
“We have the 4th of July coming up. That’s gonna be huge for New York. We’ve got cruises going out on the 4th of July. It’s really the best timing you could possibly imagine. We’re so thrilled,” said Circle Line VP of sales and marketing Phillip Whitney.
Christopher Heywood, with NYC & Company, the city’s tourism organization, is also thrilled.
“This year, we’re expecting to get 10 million visitors between Memorial Day and Labor Day,” Heywood said. “So we definitely are bullish about the outlook.”
It’s safe to say, New York City is open for business.
All the attractions DeAngelis visited – the Empire State Building, Immersive Van Gogh and Circle Line Cruises – require tickets for any visits. Free timed entry reservations are required at Little Island from noon through the remainder of the day.MORE NEWS: Mayor De Blasio Announces Vaccine Mandate For All New York City Municipal Workers, Including First Responders
We also reached out to the Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo and Queens Zoo. A spokesperson said date specific tickets are still required and can be purchased online. Masks are not required for vaccinated people. Unvaccinated people must wear masks indoors or outdoors when social distancing is not possible. For more information, click here.