Empire State Building Remains NYC’s Premier Structure

The Empire State Building is the most iconic structure within the New York City skyline and was once the tallest building in the world. Taller skyscrapers have since emerged, but none of them are as significant

Today, the Empire State Building remains a premier tourist destination.

The Bare Essentials: Empire State Building

New York Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is 1,250 feet tall. It ranks as the eighth tallest building in New York. It is also the ninth-tallest completed skyscraper in the country and ranks 57th on a global level. 

After the 9-11 September attacks, the Empire State Building was the tallest building in New York City. One World Trade Center took back the top spot in 2012.

Architecture firm Shreve, Lamb & Harmon designed the building. Completed in 1931, it took one year and 45 days to build. It has 103 stories and is topped with a 204 foot antenna. Observation decks are on the 86th and 102nd floors.

The Art Deco skyscraper has 1,576 stairs. Every year, the building holds a race to see who can run up the stairs the fastest.  

The Empire State Building consists of offices, encompassing 2.8 million rentable square feet. It even has a  ZIP code: 10118. Meanwhile, the building is named after the state’s nickname: The Empire State.

Early Financial Failure

The Empire State Building is a bustling, desirable office building, but that was not always the case. It opened in 1931 with less than a quarter of the space leased out due to the stock market crash in 1929 and the start of the Great Depression.

The sad nickname the “Empty State Building” persisted through the 1930s because the upper half was almost completely vacant. The skyscraper didn’t start turning a profit until after World War II.

Cultural and Movie Icon

Ever since it debuted in the 1933 film “King Kong,” the Empire State Building has been an ever-popular movie location. The skyscraper has appeared in hundreds of films and television shows. 

Famous Observation Decks

Observation decks at the Empire State Building may not be the best, but they’re still great. Four million people visit the building annually.

The outdoor observation deck on the 86th floor is the most iconic. It has recognizable standing binoculars for taking in the view. There’s also an enclosed gallery. Both are open 365 days a year in all types of weather.

A second deck on the 102nd floor is smaller and enclosed. Renovated in 2019, it has floor-to-ceiling windows and more space. The building added a third observation deck on the 80th floor in 2019 that includes exhibits and a painting of the NYC skyline.

One World Observatory vs Empire State Building

One World Trade Center surpassed the Empire State Building as the tallest building in New York City in 2012. Since then, six other buildings have been built that are taller than the Empire State Building.

Visiting the Empire State Building

Observation decks are enjoyed the most on clear days, so check the weather before planning your trip and buy tickets in advance. 

An observation deck ticket gets you to the main deck on the 86th floor. Tickets start at $44.00 for adults. Tickets are also available for a sunrise visit or private “red carpet” tours that start at $500.

Blimp Parking

The building’s owners added the mast to the top as a docking station for blimps. The idea was that dirigibles could pull up to the building and hook on. Passengers could walk down an open-air gangplank to enter the building. Unfortunately, pilots couldn’t maneuver due to high winds which canceled the project.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Is the Empire State Building the tallest building in NYC?

Among the tallest buildings in New York, it ranks seventh. The Empire State Building height is 1,250 feet.

How old is the Empire State Building?

Completed in 1931, the iconic skyscraper is 91 years old.

Why is the Empire State Building observation deck special?

It’s not the highest observation deck in NYC, but it is the most iconic. The Empire State Building is a world-famous architectural gem among New York skyscrapers and it hosts more than four million visitors each year.

How much does it cost to visit the Empire State Building?

Adult Empire State Building tickets to the 86th-floor observation deck start at $44.00 and go up from there. It costs more to skip the line, visit the 102nd floor, return for a nighttime visit or have a private VIP tour.

What style is the Empire State Building?

Built-in the Art Deco style of architecture, the Empire State Building is considered the most magnificent Art Deco skyscraper on a global scale.

Empire State Building Construction Animation

The buildings that make up the NYC skyline feature more supertall skyscrapers, but the Empire State Building remains the most iconic structure. The office building, with its art deco style, has long been a beloved city attraction.