New York’s Most Iconic Landmark: The Empire State Building

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The Empire State Building still stands tall as one of the most iconic New York landmarks.

In 1928, what used to be the renowned Waldorf Astoria Hotel on Fifth Avenue was sold to Bethlehem Engineering Corporation for an estimated $20 million. This building was then demolished, thus becoming the new site for the new building project – the Empire State Building, which was intended to be the world’s first 100+ story building. Construction of the Empire State Building began on March 17, 1930, and was completed in a record-breaking one year and 45 days.

This building has been included in countless famous movie and television scenes such as Sleepless in Seattle, Independence Day, Elf, and Gossip Girl. However, the most famous example debuted only two years after opening its doors. In 1933, a little film known as “King Kong” came out. The end of the movie displays the oversized ape terrorizing Manhattan as he climbs to the top of the skyscraper, Fay Wray in hand. He swats away several airplanes from atop the building before plummeting to his death. This specific scene may just be the building’s most famous popular culture representation.

King Kong on top of the Empire State Building in the 1933 movie

In 1976, to honor the United States Bicentennial, the Empire State Building installed colored lights to illuminate the building at night. They were lit up in red, white, and blue at the time. However, nowadays, the lights get changed to recognize important occasions, holidays, and organizations throughout the year. The building now uses a state-of-the-art LED lighting system with more than 16 million colors.

February 14, 1994, dates the first Valentine’s Day wedding to occur at the Empire State Building. Since this day, more than 250 couples have exchanged their vows, and the event is now annually televised and is covered by news outlets around the globe.

2019 was a big year for the Empire State Building. This year brought us the conclusion of a four-year, $165M renovation and restoration project to install innovative experiences and return the iconic landmark to its original silhouette. The renovation added an immersive 10,000-square-foot museum with various exhibits to highlight the history of the building and its connections with the community and popular culture/media. This multimedia museum can be enjoyed while venturing up to the newly renovated 86th floor observatory deck and the additional 102nd floor observatory, providing viewers the most astonishing view of New York City.

In recent news, fans of Percy Jackson have noticed the Empire State Building’s social media accounts’ enthusiasm for the new Disney+ series. On July 19, the account tweeted, “This is a Percy Jackson stan account,” and six days earlier, they tweeted that “The Gods” and “Olympus” are located on the 600th floor (just as it is in the series). Could they possibly be teasing a potential partnership with the series? It wouldn’t be the first time this occurred; in May, they partnered with Stranger Things on a dynamic light show and special experiences for fans of the show. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…

We had the pleasure of recently visiting the ESB and it was such a fun experience.  There are amazing photo opps, views and history to take in. We recommend getting a top deck ticket, which gives you access to the 86th and 102nd floor. Get your tickets now here.

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