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Thread: Empire State Building Observatory

  1. #16
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


  2. #17


    September 9, 2005:

  3. #18
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Manhattan - UWS


    Yeah! Cool photos.

  4. #19

    Thumbs up

    de superbes photos

  5. #20


    Quote Originally Posted by BrokenDawn
    when you first step out onto the observation deck, what direction are you facing (north, south, east, west?)
    You exit the elevator at the 86th floor and they direct you to your left, up a couple steps. As you climb the steps you're facing the 5th Ave side of the building-- so, east-southeast. You're actually pointed 119 degrees east of true north, which is how the street grid is oriented.

    I'm guessing they closed the 102nd floor less than five years ago. It's about 30 feet across.

  6. #21


    Thanks for the photos Big Mac. Looks like I got me a new desktop background.

  7. #22

    Default help on tickets

    sorry for misposting, if it is.
    but i recently went to nyc and bought tickets to ESB observatory online, but was not able to use them due to a lack of time. Any chance anyone here knows where i can sell these, i paid $36 for 2 tickets. Thanks ahead of time.

  8. #23


    July 13, 2006
    After Midnight, Romance on the Observation Deck

    Slide Show: After Midnight

    Midnight at the Empire State Building. Gone are the long lines, the strollers and the tour bus crowds. Instead, at 1,050 feet, with rain clouds colored pink, romance abounds.

    With the lights of Wall Street glimmering in the distance, Kevin Livingston, 28, of Queens, takes advantage of the setting.

    He turns to Charlotte Harrison, 27, who is also from Queens and who has been dating him for three weeks. “Will you be my girlfriend?” he asks. Then he declares that even New York City’s lights have nothing on her.

    On the east deck another couple, more serious, are locked in a tight embrace.

    Yes, she has just whispered. Yes, of course she will be his wife.

    The couple, Aisha, 25, and Imran, 32, who would give only their first names, met on, a Muslim social networking site. Six months’ worth of e-mail messages later — Aisha from Montreal, Imran from London — they made plans to meet for the first time in New York.

    Now, atop the Empire State Building, they share their first kiss, and Imran whispers the proposal in Aisha’s ear.

    While many of the city’s most popular attractions — the Statue of Liberty, the Bronx Zoo — have been closed for hours, the Empire State still beckons. And this year the arrival of warmer nights coincides with the pushing back of the observation deck’s closing, to 2 a.m. from midnight on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through Sept. 9. Tickets, $16 for adults, may be bought anytime during the day on which they are to be used.

    At that late — or early — hour in the summer, the platform becomes a lovers’ lane for couples in search of a late-night view. Their idea, of course, is nothing new — from “An Affair to Remember’’ to “Sleepless in Seattle,’’ the platform has been a classic stage.

    How many proposals could the observation deck have seen in its 75 years?

    Mira Akerman, 34, who flew to New York from Sweden for her wedding, has come to the top for a postnuptial kiss with new husband, Martin Nilsson, 33. Running out on the deck, still in her white wedding dress, she explains, “It’s such a New York thing to do.”

    Hector Rosado, 43, a security guard on duty, says the atmosphere 86 floors up definitely changes at night.

    “With the night lights it’s different,” he says. “They enjoy the view. I mean they really enjoy it.”

    Two more New Yorkers, Adam Bogan, 30, a financial adviser at J. P. Morgan, and his companion, Sarah Yatto, 27, who works at Bloomingdale’s, stumbled upon the still-open attraction after dinner in the neighborhood.

    “It’s dark, it’s foggy, it’s kind of smoky — the city looks mysterious,” Ms. Yatto says, looking uptown from underneath their shared umbrella.

    Mr. Bogan agrees. “If there was a bar, we’d be here all the time,” he says.

    Still, not everyone finds it romantic. Naomi Pate, a student at the University of Georgia, heads inside to search for someone in her party who seems to have disappeared.

    “I think he’s afraid of heights,” she says, alone for the moment on the east deck.

    Students visiting from George Washington University, Jay Bhatt, 19, and Priya Patel, 20, look toward Times Square.

    “It’s just so peaceful,” Mr. Bhatt says. “You have time to think.”

    According to Bob Zorn, director of the observatory, guards working at night had been turning visitors away at midnight for years — people who had come from Broadway shows or a romantic dinner. The new closing hours are an experiment, to see how much interest there will be. “If it’s successful as we feel it will be,” Mr. Zorn said, “we’ll continue to do it.”

    On this night, John Lee arrives at the deck about 1:15 a.m. with a dozen travel mates, many of them from Korea. “We weren’t aware it was open that late,” he says.

    They are part of an organization called the Christian Gospel Mission and are touring the United States. Mr. Lee, 38, from Los Angeles, is interpreting. The group poses for pictures, the East Side’s lights their backdrop, and then their leader, Joeun Jung, starts a prayer.

    “She was so moved by all the beautiful light,” Mr. Lee said afterward. “Each light represented a person or a family or a group.”

    Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

  9. #24

    Default Views from the Empire State Building

    Here are some nice photos of the view from the Empire State Building during the day

  10. #25


    Clear shot... March 12, 2007.

  11. #26


    Superb picture. Did you use a tripod or a steady hand?

  12. #27


    For a few pictures from the ESB and some Roosevelt Island, Please have a look at my thread in the skyscrapercity forums.



  13. #28

    Default My ESB Pictures

    There are others but my computer is being really slow at the moment. I will post more when I get a chance.


  14. #29


    Set by paolo_rosa, taken last week.

  15. #30
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    A View Inside King Kong’s Perch


    A view from the Empire State Building's 103rd floor, not open to the public. It overlooks the visitors'
    observation deck on the 86th floor and shows views of the Hudson River and Central Park.

    I am pressing against a secure wall, not daring to step away. The wind is whipping against me — or is it howling? My feet feel rubbery on the narrow walkway. I think of those balconies on the upper floors of colonial homes in old ports, where pacing wives would gaze out to sea, seeking the long-overdue ships of sailor husbands: widows’ walks. If this particular walk were open to an anxiously pacing public, I can only imagine how many new widows and widowers would be left behind. But I look out, and the vision is literally breathtaking, the Hudson shimmering in the west, and a patch of green off to the north — Central Park — lying just beyond some half-hearted high-rises.

    I am standing a floor above the highest observation deck of the Empire State Building just outside a room with cables and communications equipment. The walkway circles around the building’s narrow spire, which, in 1930, was envisioned as a mooring mast for dirigibles; as it turned out, only King Kong ever reliably used it for support.

    And though the view from the glassed-in deck on the 102nd floor below is almost as remarkable, I am glad that Jean-Yves Ghazi, the director of the observatory, has led me up here, because what I have been made forcefully aware of by the jolts of wind is not the building as completed object, secure and established, dominating the cityscape, but the building as it came to be. Because it was in the midst of these whipping winds and unsettling heights that welders, riveters, steamfitters, bricklayers, marble setters, metal lathers, glaziers and roofers pieced this building together in unforgiving, empty space in an astounding 11 months.

    That sense of venture — and adventure — is also the subject of a new, untitled exhibition on the 80th floor, through which three and a half million visitors a year will walk, on their way to the elevators leading upward. It is a modest show of panels and images, taking up just 3,000 square feet, but it is part of a renovation and modernization costing more than $550 million.
    That project has made the Art Deco lobby a gleaming display of marble and gilt; it includes the replacement of every window and the remaking of the climate-control system (saving, we are informed, almost 40 percent in energy costs). And it has also given rise to a series of animated panels about its environmental achievements, on display in the ticket area, where adults wait to pay at least $22 each on lines that snake around stanchions.

    But this exhibition on the 80th floor does something else. It is safe to say that visitors to the Empire State Building don’t really come to see the building. They come to see the city around it. This show, whose curator is Carol Willis, the founder and director of the Skyscraper Museum, redirects attention from what the building lets us see, to what we see in the building, which is considerable. On its opening on May 1, 1931, we are told, the Empire State “had broken every record in the book in terms of both size and speed of construction.”

    The windows on the 80th floor do not look out on the cityscape; there is time for that upstairs. Instead they are covered with enlarged, semi-translucent photographs taken during the building’s construction in 1930. In one pair of windows we seem to be looking east, toward the river and the rival Chrysler building, finished just months before and doomed to have its height record surpassed. Another window gives us a glimpse of men riveting steel on the 86th floor. A third shows the setting of steel columns in the open air on another nearby floor.

    Industriousness abounds, but still, how could the Empire State have been built in so short a time? Within 20 months of the signed contracts with the architects (Shreve, Lamb & Harmon), the building was ready for tenants. Yet it was greater in scale than any yet constructed.

    It required 57,000 tons of steel, 10 million bricks, 62,000 cubic yards of concrete and 67 elevators. At one point more than 3,400 workers were employed. And the building grew one story a day. “No comparable structure,” we read, “has since matched that rate of ascent.”

    In her researches for her own museum, Ms. Willis found a typed manuscript on blue-lined graph paper, which she published in facsimile in 1998 in “Building the Empire State.”
    The manuscript, resembling a notebook and lacking any attribution, is titled “Notes on Construction of Empire State Building” and meticulously annotates the work accomplished and its cost. It seems written by someone associated with the contractor, Starrett Brothers & Eken.

    After its publication, heirs of the contractor contacted Ms. Willis, offering a “family scrapbook” of more than 500 photos of the tower’s construction. Those photographs are used in this exhibition, images of the building as a work in progress. They are also accompanied by pages from the notebook, with financial accounts. We learn that $15,507.53 was spent on workmen like those portrayed in an adjacent photo, cleaning and pointing limestone. The building’s total job cost, one spreadsheet says, was $25,679,772, which amounted to about 71 cents per cubic foot.

    Ms. Willis suggests that the speed was a result of teamwork combined with the genius of the contractors. The company’s president, Paul Starrett, later wrote of the Empire State: “I doubt that there was ever a more harmonious combination than that which existed between owners, architects, and builder. We were in constant consultation.”

    But the achievement is still astonishing. The contractors could not rely on previous experience; building taller does not always mean building more of the same. It was noticed, for example, that the 85th floor was six inches lower than it was supposed to be: the weight of the steel had compressed the lower floors.

    The exhibition does not cover the building’s post-construction life, but Ms. Willis tells us that for all its triumphs, at first the Empire State was “shaping up to be a colossal financial failure.” In the early ’30s it suffered from an oversupply of office space in the city, a Depression economy and a bad location. In 1933 only a quarter of the space was rented; 56 floors remained empty. It wasn’t until after World War II that the building began to flourish.

    But there is another aspect of this project worth examining. The construction notebook reveals a remarkable combination of hard-headed calculation and sentimental warmth. At one point the author writes, “Every large construction project exacts its toll of human life.” He pays tribute to “fellow-workmen” who died during the project, six while working on the building. The author even becomes religious, acknowledging “our debt to them,” along with our “universal kinship” with the “lowly Carpenter of Nazareth.” Was that sense of humble mission part of this project’s culture? If so, it could have helped inspire workers and managers alike. Nothing was taken casually.

    The Empire State’s observatory might benefit from higher ambitions as well. It is fine to describe changing light bulbs to save energy, but it would be more effective if visitors were presented with a context for understanding the history of the building and its place in the city.

    And after Ms. Willis’s show takes us through the building’s construction, why not conclude by turning outward again, toward the city, which so many have come to see? Why not give some sense of the changing urban landscape and its significance? On the observatory deck it would be helpful to see maps of the terrain, identifying major landmarks.

    As for the reasons for the extraordinary accomplishments, another clue comes in the notebook. The author, near the end, mentions a quotation from the art critic John Ruskin that “has been used frequently as an inspirational thought.” Did it resemble the motivation he offered his team? It would help explain a lot. And it wouldn’t hurt if it were mounted today in the exhibition as well:
    “When we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delight, nor for present use alone; let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for ... and that men will say, as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, ‘See! this our fathers did for us.’ ”

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