Posted on: Sunday, February 8, 2009

Empire State Building a New York City must-see

Empire state bld.

From the observation deck of the Empire State Building, you can see for miles. The ornate skyscraper is the Chrysler Building.

BONNIE FRIEDMAN | Special to The Advertiser

Some of the best views in town are available 86 floors from the street

By Bonnie Friedman
Special to The Advertiser

Where: The Empire State Building

What: It is one of the most recognizable buildings in the world and certainly New York City's architectural icon. It has appeared in more than 100 movies, most notably "An Affair to Remember" and "King Kong." The Art Deco design details inside and out are a joy to behold. And at 102 stories (1,224 feet and 200-plus feet more to the top of the tower), the Empire State Building still holds the record for fastest construction of a skyscraper its size.

It was built in just one year and 45 days 7 MILLION man-hours! beginning in March 1930. It was New York's tallest building until the completion of the World Trade Center's twin towers in 1972. While it regained that distinction after the 9/11 attacks, it came, obviously, as a result of great tragedy. Still, millions of visitors each year make the high-speed elevator trip to the 86th-floor observatory to gaze at the city below. (This writer, a native New Yorker, did it for the first time last November typical, isn't it?) On the clearest of days, the view extends to 80 miles.

Other features: The colored lights that have illuminated the top of the building each night since 1976 are meaningful as well as beautiful. Every notable city event and national holiday is radiantly acknowledged. From the purple and yellow of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show to the red, pink and white of Valentine's Day. Many die-hard New Yorkers are happiest when the lights glow blue and white in late October/early November ... because it means the Yankees have won the World Series!

If you go: Obviously, the clearer the day, the more amazing the views from the observatory, but don't discount a night visit talk about "City Lights"! The official Web site, www.esbnyc.com, is a complete resource about this stately structure (be sure to check out "Trivia"). And before or after your trip to the top, you are smack dab in the middle of Manhattan with great cultural experiences, shopping and dining in any direction you choose to venture.