The Empire State Building: Observatory Renovation Experience
The Empire State Building (ESB) has undergone a renovation of its Observatory redevelopment. The project was marked by four phases of work; in the Observatory lobby, on the second floor galleries, interactive exhibits on the 80th floor, and the observation deck on the 102nd floor.
The Observatory Experience is the only museum in New York City that is open seven days a week from 8am to 2am. Located on the second floor of the building, the 10,000 sq. ft. galleries invite guests on a journey from the building’s construction to its current place in pop culture. Named the most ‘Instagrammed’ US landmark in a study by Sony Mobile, the new galleries feature immersive and interactive exhibits that fulfil the desire of today’s modern traveller to share authentic experiences – all as they make their way to the one-of-a-kind view from the 86th Floor Observatory.
The galleries through which visitors travel to experience ESB’s famous views from the centre of New York City include: The Site in the 1920s, Construction, Modern Marvel, Urban Campus, World’s Most Famous Building, King Kong and Celebrity.
“While the views from the 86th Floor Observatory are world-famous, the Empire State Building has a rich history filled with exciting events and innovative projects that we are now able to share via our new second-floor exhibits,” said Anthony E. Malkin, Chairman and CEO of Empire State Realty Trust. “Now, our galleries on the second floor give our visitors the chance to learn and engage with the iconic authenticity that only the Empire State Building, unique not just to New York City, but to the world, can provide. With the expertise of our design partners, these new galleries will engage visitors in unprecedented ways.”
Featured on the 80th floor is an exclusive, interactive partnership with NYC & Company (the official marketing, tourism and partnership bureau for New York City), with five interactive video blades which allow visitors to utilize NYC & Company’s expertise to design itineraries for their visit using a massive inventory of destinations in all five boroughs. Visitors can automatically download the itineraries to their phones with the use of a QR Code reader or send them via e-mail. Designed in response to research that showed ESB is many visitors’ first destination, this service is a boom to all tourists and New York City residents.
Interactive, augmented reality scenes from New York City housed inside classic binoculars bring visitors directly to the sights and sounds of popular destinations. Other exhibits include videos of ESB’s famous light shows with interviews with Marc Brickman, the lighting artist who brings them to life, user-generated content, and famous British memory artist Steven Wiltshire’s monumental skyline drawing of New York City.
Anthony added: “What began with the new Observatory entrance opening in August 2018 is now as we intended; a fully educational and immersive journey which connects visitors from around the world to their emotional connections to the World’s Most Famous Building and helps them design their entire visit to New York City from the centre of it all. The completed Empire State Building Observatory elevates our Guests’ experience, from our new entrance to the dramatic and exciting 102nd floor which is the crown jewel of the Empire State Building. We’ve removed all the obstructions and obstacles, giving Guests access to a view that is centrally-located and unrivalled in New York City.”
Opened in October, the newly renovated 102nd floor Observatory now features floor to ceiling glass windows where guests can step right to the edge and take in views of New York City. The first step of guests’ journey to the 102nd Floor observatory is the 86th floor all glass elevator. Here, they travel up 16 floors through a newly renovated glass shaft and get a look at the inside of the tower’s mast and its world famous tower lights. Once the elevator nears its destination, they’re provided with a sneak peek of the breath-taking views the 102nd floor has to offer them.
Finally, they step out onto the Observatory, an enclosed, climate controlled, all weather Observation Deck allowing 360-degree views of the city and beyond from the heart of the city. It is made up of 24 crystal clear eight-foot-tall windows.
Anthony finished: “At 88 years young, the Empire State Building remains the icon of innovation, aspirations, and dreams, and is the vibrant ancestor of all tall buildings around the world.”
Tickets to the 86th floor Observatory start at $38 and tickets to the 102nd floor Observatory can be purchased for an additional $30 either online at www.empirestatebuilding.com or on-site at kiosks located on the second and 86th floor.