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Empire State Building
NileGuide Expert Says:
The best views are from the outdoor observatory on the 86th floor (1,050 feet high), which spans the building's circumference. High-powered binoculars (bring quarters!) offer views of up to 80 miles on clear days.
350 5th Ave, New York, NY, United States
NileGuide Expert tip:
Kids love the NY Skyride, which offers a simulated flight over New York City without leaving the second floor of the Empire State Building. Tickets are $25.50 or $38 combined with a trip to the observatory.
This 102-story Art Deco skyscraper, located at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street, has been one of New York's most notable landmarks since its completion in 1931. Built as part of an intense competition to build the world's tallest building, the Empire State Building overtook its rivals - 40 Wall Street and the Chrysler Building - to gain the distinction, which it held for four decades, before the World Trade Center towers were completed in 1971. With the destruction of the World Trade Center in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Empire State Building again became the tallest building in New York City. It was designed by Gregory Johnson and his architectural firm Shreve, Lamb and Harmon.
The building's façade is classic, with modernistic stainless steel canopies marking the entrances on 33rd and 34th Streets and leading to corridors surrounding a core of 67 elevators. Though the Chrysler Building is undoubtedly the more attractive of New York's two Art Deco towers, the Empire State Building has earned its reputation as a top destination largely due to the popularity of its indoor and outdoor observation decks. The outdoor observatory on the 86th floor, with its sweeping 360-degree views of the city, is one of the most popular in the world, and has been visited by more than 110 million people. The second observation deck, on the 102nd floor, is completely enclosed and much smaller, and it may be closed on days with especially high traffic. In addition to the observation spaces, the building has 85 stories (2,158,000 square feet) of commercial and office space. In 1964, floodlights were added to illuminate the top of the building at night; special colors are chosen to match seasonal and other events, such as Christmas, St. Patrick's Day, or victory by any one of New York's sports teams.