The Empire State Building (ESB), a national historic landmark, stands at 350 Fifth Avenue, between 33rd and 34th Streets, in midtown Manhattan, New York City. The 102-story, contemporary Art Deco-style building is counted among the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. It also belongs to the World Federation of Great Towers.
The ESB, built at the former site of the "twin hotels" of the Waldorf-Astoria, is the product of a highly publicized race to create the world’s tallest skyscraper.
The genesis of the ESB came from John J. Raskob, vice-president of General Motors, who wanted the building to exceed the height of his rival car manufacturer's Chrysler Building. Designed by Shreve, Lamb and Harmon Associates, the sky-piercing tower took only one year and 45 days to complete its construction and was officially opened on May 1, 1931.
Until 1970, it was renowned as the world's tallest building. After the fall of the World Trade Center, ESB became the second tallest building in the United States, and the tallest in New York City.
The building's distinctive spire was originally designed to be a dirigible mast for air blimps. Since 1931, ESB has been acting as an "Ambassador to New York” to many of the world's most celebrated figures. A broadcasting tower was added in 1950. The major commercial broadcast stations of New York were housed at the top of the Empire until September 11, 2001.
The observatory, located on 86th floor of ESB, is 1,050-foot high above the busting streets of the city. A magnificent view of the city can be enjoyed from its glass-enclosed pavilion, which is heated in winter and cooled in summer. The spacious open-air promenade, equipped with high-powered, coin-operated binoculars, is surrounds all four sides of the building. The observatory is handicap accessible.
The TowerCAMS, at the top of the building, allows visitors to view the various sights around the city. A streaming footage of the surroundings can be enjoyed through the TowerVISION.
The building features classic office space with excellent office suites. New York’s Sky Ride, an independently owned-and-operated, simulated helicopter ride and virtual-reality movie theater, is located on the second floor.
Several art exhibits can be seen in the lobby. A private photograph collection of Fay Wray (who won fame as the damsel in the classic movie “King Kong”), posters, and memorabilia of the movie, are permanently displayed in the two lobby showcase windows.
In addition, the building has two restaurants, a sushi bar, three coffee shops, drug store, card shop, post office, and two banks. At night, the ESB is decorated with glowing light of different colors that change occasionally. Interesting and interactive events, concerts and holiday-based shows/decorations are planned throughout the year.