"Top of the Empire State Building" Empire State Building Tip by Donna_in_India

Empire State Building, New York City: 374 reviews and 610 photos

  View from the Empire State Building at Dusk
by Donna_in_India

Until a few months ago, the Empire State Building was once again the tallest buildng in New York City. Although now #2, it is still an icon and world-wide symbol of NYC. Building started shortly after the Crash of '29. With 3,000 men working, the building rose 4 1/2 stories a week. On May 1, 1931 the building was officially opened. Although the building is 1,250 feet tall, a 217 foot antenna was added in 1950 for TV/FM radio/Emergency Broadcasting that brought the height of 1,467 feet.

In 1981 the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission declared the building a landmark, in 1982 it was listed on the State & National Register of Historic Places and in 1986 it was recognized as a National Historic Landmark by the National Parks Services, I.S. Department of the Interior.

The ESB has been featured in over 250 movies and is the location for countless weddings. The ESB has lightings - tower lights - that celebrate cultures and causes, religious holidays such as Christmas (with green and red), and even local sports events/championships such as the NY Yankees and NY Mets Subway Series (the last in 2013).

We are frequently asked whether it's best to go to the top of the ESB or Top of the Rock and I have long recommended the ESB. I finally understand the other point of view - mine may have been more sentimental. I do love the views from the ESB - especially of the bridges leading out of Manhattan but the point that keeps coming back is that you can't SEE the ESB FROM the ESB! So if you have time/money for only 1, I'd recommend the Top of the Rock.

If you do decide to go to the ESB, note that the lines can be excruciatingly long - as they are during the Christmas holidays and on many summer days. You'll have to wait on three lines - one for security, one to buy your tickets, and one for the elevator. At least avoid the ticket line and buy your tickets to the 86th floor observatory online. (To continue to the 102nd floor - which I really liked - even though it's enclosed - you have to buy the tickets from the 86th floor to the 102nd floor at the ticket office on the 2nd floor or the kiosk on the 8th floor.) You can also skip the elevator line by buying an express pass but it costs twice as much as the price of a regular ticket. I don't think it's worth it.

Be warned that the guys outside of the building will try and sell you combo tickets (that includes the Skyride, which I would definitely skip), express tickets, etc. Do your homework and know what you want to buy (or buy online), otherwise it can get very expensive!

ESB is also included in New York's City Pass - http://www.citypass.com/city/ny/now.html.

You can check - http://whatcoloristheempirestatebuilding.com/ - to see what colors will be lit on a particular day.

Open daily 365 days a year. 8:00am to 2:00am 7 days a week.

Address: 350 5th Avenue
Directions: 1, 2, 3 or 9 (Seventh Avenue Lines), A, C or E (Eighth Avenue Subway) to 34th Street/Penn Station.
Phone: (212) 947-1360
Website: http://www.esbnyc.com/

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jan 4, 2014
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Comments (1)

  • davidjo's Profile Photo
    Jan 4, 2014 at 5:14 PM

    Good facts and figures and wonderful view in the Photo. Been to N Y State a few times but the Big Apple never really appealed to me.. Too late now!!!

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