Empire State Building | On Top of the World

by Nick David

When it comes to what to see and do in New York City, the sheer number of options can seem a little overwhelming. However, there is one thing that should be at the top of every travel list, and that is a visit to the top of the iconic Empire State Building.

It is simply one of the most famous buildings in the entire world and it has come to symbolize the bold and majestic grandeur of the Big Apple itself. The Empire State Building has been featured in countless movies, television shows and books set in New York, from King Kong to An Affair to Remember to Doctor Who to Michael Chabon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.

Empire State Building

Click for more details on the Empire State Building

The Great Building
The Empire State Building has been named one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. It stands 103 stories high right on 5th Avenue in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. It was the tallest building in the world for almost 40 years, until the completion of New York’s World Trade Center in 1970. Aside from its height, it is also famous for its classic Art Deco architecture, which can be seen everywhere from the spectacular cathedral-like three story lobby, to the sleek railings and design of the observation deck.

The Empire State Building also acts as symbol to mark holidays and world events. Floodlights were added to the top of the building in the 1960s, and now the building lights up in different colours depending in the occasion. The building is lit up red, white and blue for the 4th of July, green for St. Patrick’s Day and Christmas, and in 1998, it was bathed in a blue light when Frank Sinatra (Old Blue Eyes) passed away.

Tips for the Perfect Visit
Since the Empire State building is at the top of everyone’s must-see list, expect long lines. Tickets do offer an express option which will let you skip the lines, but you can expect to line up long before you get to the ticket counter. Instead, it’s cheaper and more efficient to plan your visit for a time when lines might be a little less long.

The best times to visit are first thing in the morning, around 3 p.m., or at night, when the lines are shortest. Don’t let bad weather keep you away. A little rain or snow does nothing to dampen the incredible view, and it does a lot to speed up your trip to the top. The most romantic time to visit is at night, when the city that never sleeps is sparkling at your feet.

The View
You can see the entire city of New York from the top of the Empire State Building, plus a little more. From the south Observation Deck, and you look out towards Lower Manhattan, the Lower Bay and Staten Island. You can see the famous Flatiron Building below, out towards the resurrected tower at One World Trade Centre, and past to Statue of Liberty.

From the North Observation deck, Broadway winds past right below your feet, leading to the Columbus Circle and the vast green oasis of Central Park, which sits nestled between the Upper East and West with historic Harlem capping it off on the north.

The best view is from the northeast corner, where you look out towards Brooklyn and the sparkling East River at the other of New York’s most iconic Art Deco gems; the shining and breathtaking crown and gargoyles on the Chrysler Building, which can only be properly appreciated at this altitude.

Click to visit Empire State Building official website.

Iconic Architecture of New York

by Naomi Young

This post has been written by a guest writer – Adam.

When anyone thinks of New York it is likely that the first image that will come to mind is of the stunning city skyline. As a city that is synonymous with the skyscraper, the Big Apple is home to some spectacular examples of iconic architecture.

Indeed, those taking advantage of cheap flights to New York for a weekend break or longer getaway will soon find their selves surrounded by amazing examples of beautiful buildings.

The Empire State Building
Chief among these is probably the Empire State Building, a structure that is often seen as a symbol of the city. The 102 storey skyscraper, which stands at the corner of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street is a great example of the Art Deco style. Completed in 1931, the Empire State Building dominated the city’s skyscape until the 1970s as the tallest building in town. This record was subsequently trumped by the North Tower of the World Trade Center, a building that was sadly lost in the 9/11 atrocities handing the title back to the Empire State Building by desperately tragic default. The unmistakeable form of the Empire State Building is one that is burned onto the consciousness of moviegoers around the globe due to its appearances in such classics as King Kong, An Affair to Remember and Sleepless in Seattle. Read more about The Empire State Building.

The Chrysler Building
Another stalwart of the New York skyline is the Chrysler Building which is situated at the corner of Lexington Avenue and 42nd Street. Completed in 1930 to serve as the HQ of the car giant Chrysler, the Art Deco design created by William Van Alen was the first manmade structure to be built to a height of more than 1,000 feet. For 11 months the building enjoyed the title of the tallest building in the world, until it was overtaken by the Empire State Building the following year. Click for more info on The Chrysler Building.

The Flatiron Building
Although no longer a key player in the city skyline, the Flatiron Building nevertheless remains a symbol of the city of New York. The unique wedge shaped construction that stands at 175 Fifth Avenue. It was a groundbreaking construction when it was built at the turn of the century (work was completed in 1902 on what was originally titled the Fuller building) The triangular edifice, which counts Broadway and East 22nd Street as its second and third sides, has given its name to the whole surrounding area, now known as the Flatiron District. Read more details on The Flatiron Building.

The Woolworth Building
Another notable contender in the architectural stakes is the Woolworth Building, which stands opposite City Hall on Broadway. The building, itself the world’s tallest between 1913 and 1930, is a great example of the neo-gothic style. Click for further details on The Woolworth Building.

The Condé Nast Building
More recent additions to New York’s cityscape include the Condé Nast Building at 4 Times Square which is an exciting example of green architecture. The building, which incorporates elements of renewable energy such as solar power, received an award from the American Institute of Architects for its innovations.