Empire State Building

Empire State Building

An elegant beauty towering over Manhattan, tasteful and dominating, confident and attracting the attention of visitors to the city for decades. We are talking about the Empire State Building, one of the most famous skyscrapers in the world.

The Empire State Building consists of 103 floors and its sublime art deco architectural style is so typical of New York.

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The building was named after New York State's nickname: The Empire State.

The height of the Empire State Building

With its antenna, the building reaches 443 metres, while the roof is 381 metres high. Since its completion in 1931, it has been the tallest building in the world for more than 40 years. It was not until 1972 that the North Tower of the World Trade Center took the top spot.

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the collapse of the World Trade Center, the Empire State Building did not return to the top position of the world's tallest buildings, but it became the 3rd tallest in the USA after the Willis Tower and the Trump International Tower in Chicago.

Admission to the observation deck

The Empire State Building boasts two observation decks. It is open daily from 9:00am-0:00pm.

  • 86th Floor - Main Deck: the main observation deck with an outdoor terrace running around the entire skyscraper and providing 360° views
  • 102nd Floor - Top Deck: an indoor observation deck with floor-to-ceiling glass offering the highest possible floor, but lacking an outdoor terrace

Tickets for both viewpoints must be booked in advance and are not available on site. Use only the building's official website: esbnyc.com/buy-tickets.

Prices are as follows:

  • 86th floor only: $44 + taxes = $48, during sunset 59 usd
  • Both floors: $77 + taxes = $84, during sunset 100 usd
  • Children and seniors get a small discount of $2 to $4

Is the view from ESB the best?

Many travelers can't get enough of the views from the Empire State Building, but we wouldn't exactly disagree with that statement.

Sure, the central location will put all of Manhattan in the palm of your hand, but you'll be missing one of the most beautiful skyscrapers in New York City when you take in the view. The Empire State Building, of course.

So we'd recommend a slightly cheaper one, but more importantly a viewpoint from which you can see Manhattan and the Empire State Building as if it were in the palm of your hand at nearby Rockefeller Center.

ESB night lighting

Beginning in 1976, the illuminated top of the building was added, which has now defined the Manhattan skyline for many decades.

The default lighting on the top of the skyscraper is white, but it changes very frequently in response to major events, national holidays, and businesses can even pay to have lighting in their colors. And on days when a major New York sports club has a home game, for example.

For example, on St. Patrick's Day, the tower glows green; on major American holidays or election days, it glows red, white and blue in the colors of the American tricolor; and in 1995, for example, the spotlights were lit in the colors of Microsfot.

The lighting changes very frequently, usually several times a week, and when there happens to be no significant day, it is white.

You can check the nighttime lighting calendar for information on how the Empire State Building will be lit on any given day at the official website: esbnyc.com/about/tower-lights.

Accommodation at ESB

Given its location in the heart of New York City, expect hotel rates around the Empire State starting at 257 eur per night. For example, we would recommend the following hotels in close proximity to the tower:

History and Construction

The Empire State Building was built in record time, even though it was built during the difficult times of the Great Global Financial Crisis. The construction drawings alone by the architectural firm of Shreve, Lamb and Harmon were designed in just 2 weeks.

Originally the building was to have only 80 floors, but after the planned height of the competing Chrysler Building was increased, the project was modified to 102 interior + 103rd exterior floor.

Work began in 1929, and the pace of construction was truly dizzying: an average of 4.5 floors were built per week, and the Empire State Building was inaugurated on May 1, 1931.

Interestingly, the top floors were originally intended to serve as an airship dock, but after several attempts this idea was judged extremely risky and abandoned.

How to get to the ESB?

The unmistakable landmark of New York City stands at the corner of the famous 5th Avenue and 34th Street West almost right in the middle of Manhattan.

The nearest subway station:

  • 34 St/Herald Sq (approx. 200 meters) - yellow lines N, Q, R, W and orange lines B, D, F, M
  • 33 St (approx. 200 metres) - Green Line 6

The following bus lines also stop directly under the building: M1, M2, M3, M5, M55, M34, QM10, QM12, QM15, QM16, QM1, QM18, QM24, X27, X28, X37, X38, BM5

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