Quintessential New York View

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by airynfaerie on October 29, 2009

What do you think of when the iconic New York skyline comes to mind? Of course the tallest building in the city, the Empire State Building, is what most people picture. This famous Art Deco style skyscraper is one of the tallest buildings in the world and offers one (if not the) best views over the Big Apple.

Standing at an impressive 102 floors and taking just over 400 days to build between 1930-31, the Empire State Building is an engineering spectacle and one that people from around the world come to see. On clear days they say you can see up to 80 miles and around at 5 states. This unparalleled 360º view is one not to be missed. Located in lower midtown at 5th Avenue and 34th Street, this building can be seen from all around Manhattan.

Since 1964 colored lights have graced the top of the building at night, each signifying a different seasonal event. There's a list of the color schedule on the website, and it's interesting to see what they represent. One time I was in NYC and saw the colors of the Italian flag illuminated, then found out there was a festival in Little Italy, so I headed down there to join in the fun.

I highly recommend a trip to the observatory, as it's a quintessential thing to do in New York. Be sure to look for the entrance for visitors and not the business entrance. Then follow the signs throughout the maze of lines you'll have to encounter. From the ticketing line to the elevator line, then the second elevator (or stairs) line, then the line out to the actual observatory platform. The general ticket serves visitors to the first deck at the 86th floor (you can pay a bit more to go to the very top at 102nd floor). We just went to the 86th and enjoyed it plenty. There are quarter-fed view binoculars on the outdoor walkway, or a glass-enclosed hallway which is great for the cold and windy days.

There are many reasons to visit the Empire State Building - from the interior design, art deco architecture, thrilling view, or breathtaking height. But knowing you'll be experiencing a bit of NYC history is the best part about it.

• http://www.esbnyc.com/
• 350 5th Ave (at 34th Street)
• Open daily 8am - 2am
• General admission: $18.45 (discounts available, extra fee for 102nd floor or express pass)
Empire State Building
350 Fifth Avenue at 34th Street
New York, 10118
(212) 736-3100


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