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Wanted by the CEO of General Motors, the Empire State Building is undoubtedly one of the most emblematic monuments in New York. To raise this skyscraper, it was necessary to count on the determination of more than 3,500 workers who worked day and night to complete the building in 18 months at a rate of 4 floors per week. A titanic work that required more than 60,000 tons of steel and 10 million bricks.
The Empire State Building owes its Art Deco look to the fashion of the time. In 1930, the lines were symmetrical and inspired by cubist geometry. Inaugurated with great pomp in May 1931 by President Hoover, the Empire State Building kept its status as the highest building in the city until 1967 before the arrival of the twin towers of the World Trade Center.
How to prepare your visit, and what are the different type of tickets?
1. Enjoy a panoramic view
102 floors, 73 elevators, 6,400 windows, and 4 million visitors a year. You’re not the only one who wants to enjoy the view of Manhattan, Central Park, the Hudson River, and the Statue of Liberty. To take in the view, head to the 86th floor observatory. On this level, you’ll find an unglazed outdoor platform with protective grills.
There is another panoramic viewpoint on the 102nd floor. To get there, you have to take a glass elevator from the 86th floor. Many visitors say that the best view is from the observatory. If you are not afraid of heights, you can go to the roof top of the 102nd floor.
2. Visit the exhibition galleries
The Empire State Building is no longer an empty shell as it was for a long time. From now on, you will find galleries on the second floor. There are 9 of them and they retrace the history of the skyscraper from different angles. For the technical approach of the building, go to the Otis gallery. As you can imagine, this exhibition explains how the elevators, which were very efficient for their time, allowed the tower to rise so high. You’ll find animations and vintage images of the progress of the century-long construction.
The World’s Most Famous Building gallery reveals the impact of the Empire State Building on culture through posters, movies, and advertisements. A world of celebrities awaits you in the Celebrity Gallery with a stunning collection of celebrity photos. And for even more adrenaline, you can touch the hands of King Kong and feel the wall vibrate!
3. Admire the interior decoration
The Empire State Building is not only an architectural madness, it is also an artistic monument that uses the codes of Art Deco. The huge mural in the atrium is one of the most remarkable works. Representing a map of the sky, it is adorned with glittering stars and the sun, the gears are made of 23-carat gold. Covered in the 1960s, it required more than two years of work by the artists and historians who undertook its renovation in 2007.
4. Contemplate the illuminations
Every day, the top of the Empire State Building is illuminated in white. But depending on the occasion or the event, the illuminations are more intense. For example, to celebrate Christmas Day, the top of the building is covered in green, red and white. These illuminations have been taking place since 1976, but since 2012, the building has been equipped with a much more economical LED lighting system.
To find out about the illuminations in advance, take a look at the Empire State Building’s website. The Tower Illuminations section will give you the schedule and the meaning of the colors depending on the event.
4. Buy a classic ticket
Classic tickets allow you to go up to the 86th floor observatory and enjoy the 360-degree view of the Big Apple. Prices range from $38 to $44 and admission is free for children under 5. For the combined 86th floor and 102nd floor, you will pay between $71 and $75 per person. If you want to visit the building during the day and evening, it may be worthwhile to buy a double ticket which is cheaper as it starts at $54.
These tickets offer you the audio guide. With your smartphone, you have to download the official audio guide from a store. Available in many languages, you will learn more about the history of the building. Note that the visit is adapted to people with reduced mobility and that guide dogs are accepted. On the other hand, photo tripods are not allowed on the observation platform, you will have to leave it at the locker which is free.
6. Opt for an express ticket
These express tickets are ticket cutters. At certain times of the year, the queue can be several hours long. With an express ticket, you can immediately take the high-speed elevator that will propel you to the 86th floor in less than 10 minutes. For example, for a 90-minute guided tour with a ticket, it will cost you 142 USD per adult. This may be a good idea if you don’t have a lot of time to spend at this city landmark.
7. Save money with the New York pass
These combined tickets save both time and money if you want to visit several tourist sites like the Statue of Liberty or the MET. This pass gives you access to 6 New York attractions. Moreover, it allows you a double entrance to the Empire State Building. For 130 USD per person, you can see it day and night. You can buy this pass in advance, it is valid for 2 years after purchase and unactivated passes are cancelable for 365 days. More info on the GO NEW YORK Pass by clicking here!
8. Book your tickets in advance
Many tourists come to New York and like you, they want to see the city’s most beautiful monuments. To avoid long lines, there is only one solution: buy your ticket in advance on the official website of the Empire State Building. Once the tickets are paid, you just have to print the voucher received by mail and present it. You can also keep it on your cell phone. In both cases, you don’t need to go to the reception desk, you just have to go to the line reserved for paid tickets.
New York, the city that never sleeps, offers iconic landmarks and unforgettable moments to tourists from around the world. To make the most of it, it’s best to prepare your visit. Don’t they say that the journey begins at home!