6 at 33rd St.; B, D, F, N, Q, R, V, W at 34th St.-Herald Sq.
$18.45, $16.61 seniors, $12.92 children 6-12, free for children under 6
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
Arguably the most famous building in the world, The Empire State Building is built on a New York scale, scraping the sky a quarter of a mile above the streets of Midtown. From its completion in 1931 until the construction of the World Trade Center in 1974, this was the tallest building in the world. Indiana limestone and granite cover its 102-story frame which is composed of 60,000 tons of steel. (It took fourteen months to erectï¿½the steel at times still hot from the forges in Pittsburgh.) As a commercial enterprise, the buildingï¿½s results have been mixed. During the Depression, un-leased floors earned it the nickname "The Empty State Building." But as a tourist attraction, the site has unflagging appeal thanks to the clean, elegant Art Deco lines crafted by the architects: Shreve, Lamb & Harmon Associates. The 86th-story observation deck has long been a hit with flocks of tourists willing to brave long lines for the spectacular views. On a clear day visibility extends eighty miles, with sightlines running as far as Massachusetts. The glitz of New York nights ups the glamour quotient for late shift visitors. Colored lights, introduced in 1976, provide their own allure as they illuminate the tower for various commemorations (red, white, and blue for Independence Day; gold for the week of the Academy Awards). Though the two acre site here was farmland just 150 years ago, this corner of Fifth Avenue will be forever associated with the city's ultimate symbol of its own relentless exuberance.Lobby
The Art Deco lobby features images of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, plus a huge relief sculpture of the self-proclaimed Eighth Wonder itself.
A pre-recorded audio tour is available for $6. Note that all visitors must go through a security check. Glass, bottles, and tripods are not permitted on the Observatory level; baggage must be the equivalent of carry-on.
The Annual Fleet Empire State Building Run-Up
Once every February, competitors race up a total of 1,576 steps to the 86th floor Observatory. Access past races and winners on their website.