View From the Top: Visiting the Empire State Building

The Empire State building is a New York City icon. From the times of its construction during the Great Depression, it has been a symbol of the greatest of American engineering and ingenuity. Located on Fifth Avenue between 33rd and 34th Streets, the building rises approximately one-quarter mile above fashionable Fifth Avenue and the business district on 6th Avenue. There are other nearby landmarks including the public library and the Midtown post office, each an impressive stone structure in their own right. The Observation Deck provides breathtaking views in the daytime or night hours. During the day, you can see into four states, the New York City skyline, river views, and glimpses of the waters of the harbor. At night, you can observe the fantastic lights and excitement of the busiest city in the United States.

One should visit the Empire State Building to realize its immense presence. Even among a city full of gigantic structures, the Empire State Building stands out. One can appreciate it as a modern remnant of an age of astonishing achievements. Engineers and builders erected the enormous steel frame and concrete structure in the same era as the Brooklyn Bridge. It was an age of conspicuous achievement between the Great Crash of 1928 and the beginning of WW II in 1938. The United States endured the Great Depression from 1928-1936, and it was a time of desperate need and shattered national confidence. Achievements such as the Empire State Building helped restore the belief in America as a land of enormous opportunity and promise. Built at a cost of about $41 million, replicating this structure in today’s economy would cost approximately $1 Billion

Tours are open year-round on a daily basis with selected holiday blackouts. The hours of operation are Sunday through Monday from 8:00a.m. - 2:00 a.m. The schedule permits visitors to choose day or nighttime visits, and with such dramatic differences to be seen, many visitors do both. Observation Deck visitors can purchase tickets at the 2nd floor ticket office.

The best times to visit run from spring to early winter, avoiding the heat and cold as the observation deck is open-air. During the day, it is probably best to arrive early, pick up tickets, and take a late morning tour. The afternoons are the heavier times for long tour waits, ticket queues, and crowds.

In the Midtown area, there are many famous and fascinating attractions. Broadway and Times Square are nearby as are the theater district and Grand Central Station. There are numerous subway lines north and south and cross-town routes connecting with every part of Manhattan and the Boroughs. You would be hard pressed to find a greater variety of dining venues and entertainment destinations in any city.