The Empire State Building Observatory – A Must Visit!

by Rosemarie John on December 18, 2011

The best way to get a glimpse of what New York City is all about, is to head up the Empire State Building as your first pit stop. This legendary building has been the centrepiece of New York City’s skyline since its completion in 1931. Costing $41 million to complete, The Empire State Building is home to important international companies, the focal point of some of cinema’s most famous movie moments and host to millions of visitors every year.

An iconic structure in the middle of the city’s chaotic rush, the $550 million Empire State ReBuilding program has made it more impressive than ever. From it’s spectacular lobby, all the way to the 102nd floor observatory, makes a visit to this majestic skyscraper truly an exciting one.

Recently restored to the architect’s original Art Deco vision, entering the lobby through the Fifth Avenue entrance boasts a brilliant ceiling mural of the celestial sky in 23-karat gold and aluminium leaf. this famous mural depicts the building set against a map of the Empire State and the surrounding areas. The lobby also incorporates rare varieties of marble imported from Belgium, France, Germany and Italy.

Experiencing the gushing winds on your face and through your hair is only possible on the 86th floor. Discovering the vast skyline at 1,050 feet (320 meters) high is nothing short of captivating. The 86th floor observatory, with its popular 360-degree outdoor deck, also has indoor viewing galleries for guests to enjoy the views rain or shine, day or night. Attracting over 3.8million visitors each year, the observatory offers panoramic views up to 80 miles in every direction.

North View

Here visitors can watch the Hudson River flow beneath the George Washington Bridge which connects New York to New Jersey. You can see the green MetLife Building directly in front of One Bryant Park with its angles and spire. On your right, there is the GE Building, the angled roof of Citigroup Centre and the second MetLife Building. On a clear day, visitors can see well beyond New York and New Jersey to Connecticut and even Massachusetts.

South View

As you look southward, visitors can see Manhattan’s Financial District including the partially completed Freedom Tower in the distance. Up close and personal are views of the aptly named Flatiron Building, the historic Woolworth Building, once considered the world’s tallest at just 60 floors and the gold tipped New York Life Insurance Building. In the far right, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island can be seen while on the lower left are the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges.

East View

Separated from Manhattan by the East River is the borough of Queens. Right beside the river is the United Nations Headquarters and the famous Chrysler Building. Across the river, standing high above Queens is the Citicorp Building. While visitors span north up the river, the Queensborough Bridge, connecting Queens and Manhattan and the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge Tri-Borough, connecting Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx can also be seen.

West View

High above the Madison Square Garden sports arena, visitors can see the jet black spike of One Penn Plaza and the Jacob Javits Convention Center. Across the Hudson, you can get great views of Jersey City and beyond to Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains.

While up on the 86th floor, it can get really windy and very cold during winter. Make sure to pad up as much as you can, to be able to enjoy the views for a longer time and capture those moments for your keepsake album.

You can still opt to go higher! Soaring 1,250 feet above the ground, the 102nd floor offers an intimate, indoor setting with 360-degree views as well. Most travellers prefer the 86th floor as it allows one to experience what it feels like to be exposed to elements at such a height.

The uniqueness of the Empire State Building is its meaningful purpose of its hundred over lights atop the building’s spire that can been seen from as far as Connecticut. Often celebrating or commemorating special events or causes, all three tiers from bottom to top was lit in red to raise awareness for “The Cove” from December 9th to 11th, 2011.

Tickets to the 86th Floor cost $20.21 for adults and $14.70 for children. Open from 8am to 2am seven days a week with the last elevators going up at 1:15am, the Empire State Building is located at 350 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10118. For detailed cost on ticket pricing visit their official site

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