The Empire State Building Observatory Redevelopment Completed

New 80th floor Completes Four-Year, $165 Million Redevelopment Project

New York, NY, November 26, 2019 – The Empire State Building Observatory (ESBO) atop The World’s Most Famous Building today announces the completion of the redevelopment of its 80th floor. The final component of the four-year, $165 million project to reimagine the ESBO adds engaging and informative exhibits to orient visitors on their visit to New York City and showcases the building’s unique place at the center of it all.

New on the 80th floor is an exclusive, interactive partnership with NYC & Company, the official marketing, tourism and partnership bureau for New York City, with five interactive video blades which allow visitors to utilize NYC & Company’s expertise to design itineraries for their visit using a massive inventory of destinations in all five boroughs. The itineraries automatically download to a visitor’s phone with the use of a QR Code reader or can be sent via e-mail. Designed in response to research that showed ESBO is many visitors’ first destination, this service is a boon to all tourists and New York City residents.

Interactive, augmented reality scenes from New York City, housed inside classic binoculars, bring visitors directly to the sights and sounds of popular destinations.  Other exhibits include videos of ESB’s famous light shows with interviews with Marc Brickman, the lighting artist who brings them to life, user-generated content, and famous British memory artist Steven Wiltshire’s monumental skyline of New York City. 

To celebrate the unveiling, the Empire State Building is also excited to announce the premiere of a new video starring Tony, Grammy, Emmy, and Pulitzer-Prize winning composer, lyricist, and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda. Set to his love-letter to New York, Cheering for Me Now – an original track from his Hamildrop series with music by legendary composer John Kander (Cabaret, Chicago) and lyrics by Miranda, the video will feature a new music-to-light show designed by world-renowned lighting artist Marc Brickman and footage of Miranda exploring the all-new Observatory Experience. A portion of the video will premiere on November 27, on CBS This Morning’s live broadcast and will be posted exclusively on the Empire State Building’s YouTube Channel and Facebook page. Fans in New York can also watch the music-to-light show live on the building that night at 8 p.m. while listening to the song on iHeartRadio’s Broadway channel via www.iheartradiobroadway.com.  

80th Floor Exhibits Include:

  • Artistry in Light: Ever wonder how the Empire State Building’s music-to-light shows are created? The Artistry in Light exhibit features a short film narrated by world-renowned lighting designer Marc Brickman, a master of light creation. The film features highlights from his designs, such as the first-ever music-to-light show with Alicia Keys in 2012, and a holiday light show synced to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You.”
  • Stephen Wiltshire’s Drawing: In 2017, famed British artist Stephen Wiltshire took a 45-minute helicopter ride above Manhattan. He then drew an incredibly detailed landscape drawing of New York City, while in residence on the 80th floor of the Empire State Building, completely from memory. A three-minute film documents his process, from the 45-minute helicopter ride to the four days in which he created the original piece of art.
  • Scenes of NYC: Through Empire State Building’s classic viewfinders, visitors can check out panoramic views of nine different famed New York locations from the 80th floor. From Times Square to Coney Island, visitors get an up-close look (and even a glance inside) at places they can spot from the building’s 86th and 102nd floor observation decks.
  • Showtime Pictures: Excited to see the photos taken in front of the green screen on

the 2nd floor? The pictures are captured from 25 different angles utilizing 25 different HD cameras to create an immersive experience to tell a visual narrative. The new location for pick up has been redesigned with facial recognition technology, to speed the retrieval and purchase process through self-service kiosks.

  • Share Your Experience: As visitors enter the exit queue, they are encouraged to share their pictures on their social media platforms by four screens that create mosaic shadows of each visitor with images shared by other guests that use the hashtag #empirestatebuilding.

“What began with the new Observatory entrance opening in August 2018 is now as we intended – a fully educational and immersive journey which connects visitors from around the world to their emotional connections to the World’s Most Famous Building and helps them design their entire visit to New York City from the center of it all. The completed Empire State Building Observatory elevates our Guests’ experience, from our new entrance to the dramatic and exciting new 102nd floor,” said Anthony E. Malkin, Chairman and CEO of Empire State Realty Trust. “At 88 years young, the Empire State Building remains the icon of innovation, aspirations, and dreams, and is the vibrant ancestor of all tall buildings around the world.”

Thinc Design led the cross-disciplinary, best-in-class team from the arts and architecture, travel, technology, engineering, and entertainment industries that conceived, curated, designed, and built the project.


The team included:

  • Beneville Studios
  • Corgan
  • Diversified.
  • IDEO
  • Intersection
  • JLL
  • Kubik Maltbie
  • NYC & Company
  • Otis Elevator Company
  • Showtime Pictures
  • Skanska
  • Squint / Opera
  • Stephen Wiltshire
  • Syska Hennessy Group
  • Tactman
  • Tenguerian Models  
  • The Lighting Practice
  • Thornton Tomasetti

Tickets to the 86th Floor Observatory start at $38 with tickets to the 102nd Floor Observatory available for an additional $20. Tickets can be pre-purchased online at www.empirestatebuilding.com or in real time on-site at kiosks located on the second and 86th floor. Stay connected on social via #ESBReimagined.

About the Empire State Building

Soaring 1,454 feet above Midtown Manhattan (from base to antenna top), the Empire State Building, owned by Empire State Realty Trust, Inc., is the “World’s Most Famous Building.” With new investments in energy efficiency, infrastructure, public areas and amenities, the Empire State Building has attracted first-rate tenants in a diverse array of industries from around the world. The Empire State Building was named the world’s most popular travel destination in a study conducted by Uber and was named America’s favorite building in a poll conducted by the American Institute of Architects. For more information on the Empire State Building, please visit www.empirestatebuilding.comwww.facebook.com/empirestatebuilding, @EmpireStateBldg, www.instagram.com/empirestatebldghttp://weibo.com/empirestatebuildingwww.youtube.com/esbnyc, or www.pinterest.com/empirestatebldg.

About Empire State Realty Trust

Empire State Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE: ESRT), a leading real estate investment trust (REIT), owns, manages, operates, acquires and repositions office and retail properties in Manhattan and the greater New York metropolitan area, including the Empire State Building, the “World’s Most Famous Building.” Headquartered in New York, New York, the Company’s office and retail portfolio covers 10.1 million rentable square feet, as of September 30, 2019, consisting of 9.4 million rentable square feet in 14 office properties, including nine in Manhattan, three in Fairfield County, Connecticut, and two in Westchester County, New York; and approximately 700,000 rentable square feet in the retail portfolio. 

Experience the Wonder of the Holiday Season at the Empire State Building

New This Winter: Radiant Heat on the 86th Floor Observatory

New York, NY, November 5, 2019 – The Empire State Building (ESB) today announced the details of its annual holiday festivities, shared with New Yorkers, tourists, and fans across the globe. The celebration, which takes place throughout November and December, will include a seasonal Fifth Avenue window display, holiday concerts, and surprise appearances by celebrity guests. Decorations in the Building’s signature Art Deco style adorn the 34th Street Observatory entrance and iconic Fifth Avenue lobby and make the interior of the Empire State Building shine like its world-famous tower lights. From the ground floor to the sparkling antenna, ESB spreads holiday cheer throughout every corner of New York City and the world. New this winter is radiant heat to provide extra comfort to visitors on ESB’s 86th floor exterior 360-degree viewing deck.

“From our 2nd floor immersive interactive museum to our new exterior heaters on the 86th floor, to the 360-degree glass-enclosed 102nd Floor Observatory, the Empire State Building’s completely reimagined Observatory Experience is the place to experience the magic of New York City during the holidays, ” said Anthony E. Malkin, Chairman and CEO of Empire State Realty Trust. 

Our Guests’ journey to the world-famous 86th Floor Observatory is decked with a festive sentiment in the following locations:

Fifth Avenue and Observatory Lobbies:

During the week of November 11, 2019, the Empire State Building’s holiday spirit comes to life. Ornaments and decorations in classic shades of gold, bronze, and silver will highlight the signature Art Deco details in the Fifth Avenue Lobby. On November 13, the Radio City Rockettes will once again “unwrap” ESB’s custom Fifth Avenue holiday windows, designed by Mark Stephen Experiential Agency. The custom windows will feature several different iterations of the Building against reflective metallic ornaments, candy landscapes, and nutcrackers.

ESB will also ring in the holidays with live music performances in the Fifth Avenue Lobby. From Monday,

December 2, 2019, through Friday, December 27, 2019, a pianist will perform holiday classics and a collection of seasonal favorites to add a festive flair. ESB will also host several local student choir performances throughout the holiday season.

Second Floor Galleries:

On their way to the 86th floor Observatory, Guests are invited to explore the Building’s place in popular culture via nine interactive and immersive exhibits that span over 10,000 square feet. Be transported to the early 1930s and experience the Empire State Building construction first-hand; enjoy a short film that features holiday favorites such as Elf, When Harry Met Sally, and A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas on a panoramic, 72-screen display. Make sure to end your journey with a photo inside Kong’s giant hand!

Observation Decks:

Once Guests reach the Observation Decks on the 86th and 102nd floors, they never know who they might meet. Throughout November and December, the building will welcome notable celebrity guests to its world-famous 86th floor Observatory to enjoy the 360-degree views. In past years, the building has welcomed guests such as Mariah Carey, Gwen Stefani, Hugh Jackman, and Zac Efron during the holiday season.

Visiting ESB in the Winter:

For the first time, the Empire State Building has introduced heat lamps on its world-famous 86th Floor Observatory to keep the chill at bay while revelers take in 360-degree open-air views. From our indoor exhibits on the 2nd floor to our climate-controlled 102nd Floor Observatory with floor-to-ceiling windows, Guests will keep warm even when the weather outside is frightful.

Iconic Tower Lightings:

Throughout the holiday season, ESB will light up the New York City skyline with tower lightings in celebration of Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve.

For the full lighting schedule, please visit http://www.esbnyc.com/explore/tower-lights/calendar.

About the Empire State Building

Soaring 1,454 feet above Midtown Manhattan (from base to antenna top), the Empire State Building, owned by Empire State Realty Trust, Inc., is the “World’s Most Famous Building.” With new investments in energy efficiency, infrastructure, public areas and amenities, the Empire State Building has attracted first-rate tenants in a diverse array of industries from around the world. The Empire State Building was named the world’s most popular travel destination in a study conducted by Uber and was named America’s favorite building in a poll conducted by the American Institute of Architects. For more information on the Empire State Building, please visit www.empirestatebuilding.comwww.facebook.com/empirestatebuilding, @EmpireStateBldg, www.instagram.com/empirestatebldghttp://weibo.com/empirestatebuildingwww.youtube.com/esbnyc, or www.pinterest.com/empirestatebldg. 

About Empire State Realty Trust

Empire State Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE: ESRT), a leading real estate investment trust (REIT), owns, manages, operates, acquires and repositions office and retail properties in Manhattan and the greater New York metropolitan area, including the Empire State Building, the “World’s Most Famous Building.” Headquartered in New York, New York, the Company’s office and retail portfolio covers 10.1 million rentable square feet, as of September 30, 2019, consisting of 9.4 million rentable square feet in 14 office properties, including nine in Manhattan, three in Fairfield County, Connecticut, and two in Westchester County, New York; and approximately 700,000 rentable square feet in the retail portfolio.