Empire State Building
An Icon of New York City, the Empire State Building is a must see
Completed in 1930, the Empire State Building is a world-famous Big Apple icon and is a must-see on any visitor's itinerary. Standing 1,250 feet tall, the 102-story Art Deco skyscraper is once again the tallest building of the New York City skyline, following the destruction of the World Trade Center during the September 11th terrorist attacks in 2001. One of the "Seven Wonders of the Modern World", the Empire State Building is not only a New York landmark, it symbolises twentieth century man's attempts to break down barriers and achieve the unachievable.
You can visit the Empire State Building's Observatory on the 86th floor for a 360 degree panoramic view of the city from the spacious outdoor promenade and climate controlled glass-enclosed area. The 102nd floor offers a second, fully enclosed observation deck opened in 2005; any higher and you would be swinging like King Kong from the building's enormous spire, originally designed as a mooring mast that would enable airships, but deemed impractical after the Hindenberg disaster. Remember to take the weather into account when planning your visit; clear, dry days offer optimal viewing when you can see the Earth's arc on the horizon.
With ticket lines almost as legendary as the building, save time by buying your ticket online and consider splurging on an Express Pass to proceed directly to the high-speed elevators where you will be whisked 1,050 feet upwards in under a minute. Be prepared for a security check and to carry any items you bring into the building as there is no coat or luggage check. Cameras and camcorders are permitted, but tripods are not.
Once on the observation deck, take lots of photos and enjoy the breathtaking views, but resist the urge to test the urban legend about dropping a penny from the top of the Empire State Building. It is illegal with hefty fines if you are caught and the Discovery Channel's Mythbusters have proven it to be false.
Cost: Free admission with a New York Pass otherwise admission fees apply. See website for current admission rates.
Hours:Daily 8:00am - 2:00am
Website: Empire State Building
Address: 350 5th Avenue
Nearby attractions: Madison Square Garden, Macy's, New York Public Library