First Look at Empire State Building’s Epic Observatory

Empire State Building Observatory Scenes of NYC
Empire State Building Observatory Scenes of NYC

Take a first look inside the new 80th floor at The Empire State Building Observatory after a recently completed four-year, $165 Million redevelopment project

The Empire State Building Observatory (ESBO) atop ‘The World’s Most Famous Building’ in New York City has opened its sky-high 80th floor after an extensive $165 million-dollar redevelopment. 

New 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 that allow visitors to design itineraries for their visit using a massive inventory of destinations in all five boroughs. The itineraries automatically download to a visitor’s phone with the use of a QR Code reader or can be sent via e-mail. This was designed in response to research that showed ESBO is many visitors first destination.

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 Empire State Building’s light shows with interviews with the lighting designer Marc Brickman, user generated content and famous British memory artist Steven Wiltshire’s monumental skyline of New York City.

80th Floor exhibits Include:

  • NYC: Above and Beyond: This exhibit, created in partnership with NYC & Company, encourages visitors to create a personalised trip itinerary from the top of the Empire State Building – often their first stop in New York City. After answering questions about their interests and the length of their stay, they can assemble a personalised list of recommendations for attractions and sites throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island. Guests can then obtain their customised itinerary via e-mail or scanned by QR code directly to the visitors’ handheld devices for future reference.
  • Artistry in Light: Ever wonder how the Empire State Building’s music-to-light shows are created? The Artistry in Light exhibit features a short film narrated by world-renowned lighting designer Marc Brickman. The film features highlights from his designs, such as the first ever music-to-light show with Alicia Keys in 2012, and a holiday light show synced to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas is You.”
  • Stephen Wiltshire’s Drawing: In 2017, famed British artist Stephen Wiltshire took a 45-minute helicopter ride above Manhattan. He then drew an incredibly detailed landscape drawing of New York City, while in residence on the 80th floor of the Empire State Building, completely from memory. A three-minute film documents his process, from the 45-minute helicopter ride to the four days in which he created the original piece of art.
  • Scenes of NYC: Through Empire State Building’s classic viewfinders, visitors can check out panoramic views of nine different famed New York locations from the 80th floor. From Times Square to Coney Island, visitors get an up-close look (and even a glance inside) at places they can spot from the building’s 86th and 102nd floor observation decks.
  • Showtime Pictures: Excited to see the photos taken in front of the green screen on the 2nd floor? The pictures are captured from 25 different angles utilising 25 different HD cameras to create an immersive experience to tell a visual narrative. The new location for pick up has been redesigned with facial recognition technology, to speed the retrieval and purchase process through self-serviced kiosks.
  • Share Your Experience: As visitors enter the exit queue, they are encouraged to share their pictures on their social media platforms by four screens that create mosaic shadows of each visitor with images shared by other guests that use the hashtag #empirestatebuilding.

“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 Observatory elevates our Guests’ experience, from out new entrance to the dramatic and exciting new 102nd floor,” said Anthony E. Malkin, Chairman and CEO of Empire State Realty Trust. “At 88 years young, the Empire State Building remains the icon of innovation, aspirations, and dreams, and the vibrant ancestor of all tall buildings around the world.”

Tickets to the 86th floor Observatory start at $38 USD with tickets to the 102nd floor Observatory available for an additional $20 USD. Tickets are available online or in real time on-site at kiosks located on the second and 86th floor.

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