After so many visits to New York, I decide it is time to enter the Empire State Building - high on the wishlist of most first-time visitors to the Big Apple. I walk around the building, and look up the colossal building from Fifth Avenue. Despite its height, the Empire State Building looks slender, probably helped by the fact that it tapers off towards its top. When I enter the building, I am surprised not to find a line, and I start having a closer look at the three-storey high lobby with its many decorative elements. There are plaques pointing to elements of the building, like Masonry and Electricity, and then there is the richly decorated wall at the end of the lobby with a relief of the Empire State Building. The ceiling is a reproduction of the original ceiling. It is time to go up, and it is when I get to the second floor that I realize that this is where the actual line starts.
Between going through a security check, buying my ticket, and getting to the elevator, there is a exhibition about the history of the building, with pictures of construction works. I learn that it only took a little over a year to build, and that at one stage, the building was growing at the staggering rate of one floor per day. I ride the elevator to the 80th floor, where we have to catch another elevator for the last 6 floors. Lines are long here, and fortunately, an employee suggests that we can also walk the remaining floors. Fortunately, the observation deck itself is not completely packed, and with some patience, it is possible to gain a spot right at the edge from which the best views are to be had. To the east, I see Chrysler Building, the tallest building of the world before the Empire State Building was completed in 1931.
Since it was completed in the midst of the Great Depression, much of the building remained empty for a long time. Amazingly, even in our time, the profit from ticket sales for the observation deck is higher than the income from renting office space in the entire building - more than 110 million people have already visited, making this one of the most visited observation decks in the world. With reason: the views are fantastic and unobstructed. From the streets far below, I can hear yellow taxis honk, and when I see a little further, I can see Central Park, the Hudson River, New Jersey, Lower Manhattan with the One World Trade Center which overtook Empire State Building as the tallest building in New York in 2012, and far beyond. When I look up, I see the spire which was intended to become a station for airships and blimps; until the winds around the the building turned out to be too treacherous for that purpose: no airship ever docked here. The antenna spire still reaches up to 1454 feet, or 443 metres high. It is possible to get up to the 102nd floor, but since this is only an enclosed space, and the views not that much different from the Observation Deck at the 86th floor, I decide to remain here, and walk around and around again to enjoy the views.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Empire State Building (United States). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Empire State Building. Read more about this site.