Empire State Building

The Empire State Building in New York City is known the world over for its history, architecture, and status as a symbol of American industry, and is a wildly popular aspect of New York tourism. With construction beginning in 1930, the Empire State Building was built in the Art Deco style of that period, and opened its doors on May 1, 1931. It took over the title as world's tallest building from the Chrysler Building, and quickly became a focal point of New York tourism. At 1,453 feet, today it stands behind Chicago's Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) as the country's tallest building, and falls in line as ninth of the world's tallest skyscrapers, and seems to find its way into most all New York travel itineraries.

View from the Empire State Building
View from the Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is a focal point of both New York travel and New York tourism. It opens its Observatory doors 365 days a year, day and night and rain or shine, so that visitors may take in some of the most stunning cityscape views to be had anywhere, particularly of the New York City skyline at night, and take pictures of the Chrylser Building and other nearby landmarks. Visitors are whisked up 86 floors in a high-speed elevator, and can take part in an Empire State Building audio tour, or just create their own self-guided trip around the Observatory. Refreshments are available at various building restaurants and coffee shops, and there is an Empire State Building art exhibit located in the lobby.

Empire State Building View
Empire State Building View

The Empire State Building has been featured in popular culture and movies throughout the years, most notably in the original King Kong, where the giant ape was shown clinging to the top and spire of the building. Fascinating Empire State Building facts and trivia abound. In 1945 at the end of World War II, an Army Air Corps B-25 twin-engine bomber plane crashed into the 79th floor of the building in dense fog, and, from its very beginning up through today, The Empire State Building has acted as an "Ambassador to New York" to many of the world's best-known political and entertainment figures, such as Fidel Castro, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, Prince Andrew, The Duchess of York, Nikita Krushchev, and the King of Siam. Among the more intriguing Empire State Building facts is that the original intent of the building was that it was to be used as a mooring mast and depot for zeppelins. That proved both impractical and dangerous due to the sizable updraft from the building itself.

For many, the Empire State Building and its history, location, and legacy embodies all that is New York—from its industrial beginnings, to its excitement and romance, to its depiction in all manner of American popular culture. This exciting landmark should be part of any New York travel itinerary, as it will leave a lasting imprint of itself and the beautiful city it overlooks.

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