Other than the obvious (Empire State Building) you can also get to the Rainbow Room at the top of Rockefeller Center but I think you need dinner reservations to get up there. *I'm not from New York so correct me if I'm wrong. *In the past (10years or so ago) I've posed as a student gathering information for an Architectural Thesis and have asked for permission to have acces to rooftops or upper floors to take photos from. *It was a pretty successful mission. *The easiest one to get into was the Parker Meridien Hotel. *They've got a pool on the roof top and they were cool about letting me up there. *For aerial photos there's also the Helicopter tours - just make sure you get a window seat.