New York City’s Most Iconic Landmark Gets a Makeover

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Having lived in and around New York City my entire life, I’ve probably taken the Big Apple for granted. Sure, we frequented Broadway shows, visited the abundance of shopping, and dined out, but it wasn’t until I had kids that I really started appreciating all that New York City had to offer. As of late, we’ve made it a point to play tourist in our own backyards, and grown to love every minute of it! 

Last week, Ryder, Siella, Gemma and I visited the Empire State Building observatory, which I hadn’t been to in ages. The new and improved 102nd floor observatory features floor to ceiling windows, offering unobstructed views of the city, as well as all-new rooms and experiences that help tell the story of one of New York City’s most iconic landmarks.

Before taking the legendary elevator ride to the 102nd floor, visitors are welcomed by amazing galleries highlighting the history of the Empire State Building. As we moved between the galleries, you’ll get a peek at the past and present. The Site gallery in the 1920s is a black-and-white panoramic image depicting the site of the original Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, just as construction of the Empire State Building was underway. Guests can look through building surveyors and see New York City streets of the late 1920s come to life in full color.

The Construction exhibit immerses visitors in the sights and sounds of the construction of the iconic building. Check out the interactive sculptures of construction as the take a lunch break, from a hard days work.

The Construction exhibit immerses visitors in the sights and sounds of the construction of the iconic building. There are even interactive sculptures of construction workers as they do their jobs and take lunch breaks.

We all remember the old movie of King Kong climbing the Empire State, which has become a cultural icon. With that, it was only fitting to dedicate an exhibit to the big guy, where visitors are treated to a look at the famous 1930s office where the giant apes’ fingers crashed through the wall of the skyscraper. Look at the size of his hand compared to the size of the kids! 

The Otis Elevators exhibit showcases one of the unsung heroes of the Empire State Building – its elevators. Without the groundbreaking technology of the time, there would have been no way to transport people and freight up and down the massive structure. Visitors will also learn about the latest technology moving over 10 million people through the building today. It’s pretty fascinating! 

The World’s Most Famous Building exhibit uses over 70 screens to display highlights of the Empire State Building’s role in pop culture from decade to decade, starting in the 1930s running all the way through today. Visitors will be have access to hundreds of movies, TV shows, commercials, cartoons, comic books, and video games featuring the landmark.

Finally, a celebrity exhibit highlights the stars who have visited the building, which is as iconic as they are. It features images and signed memorabilia of athletes, musicians, athletes and more.

As the kids and I made our way through these exhibits, we were impressed by attention to detail throughout, truly capturing the history of this massive structure. After our tour, it was time to journey to the crowning achievement of the remodel – the Empire State Building Observatory on the 102nd floor.

Unless you’ve been up there yourself, there’s really no way to describe the absolute beauty of the birdseye view of the 102nd floor. First, guests enter an all-glass elevator on the 86th floor. The 86th floor remains the same with the outdoor views of New York City. We’ve visited this floor in the past and it’s still just as breathtaking each and every time. After “taking in” the outdoors, there is yet another elevator which transports you another 16 stories up, through a newly-renovated glass shaft to the 102nd floor. That on its own is awesome, but at the top, visitors are treated to panoramic views of the entire city. It’s an experience like no other in the city. 

While the kids and I enjoyed all the interactive exhibits, the 102nd floor was far and away our favorite part (surprise, surprise!). So whether you live in New York City, or if you’re planning a trip into town, the new Empire State Building Observatory and all its related exhibits should be on the top (pun!) of your list. Take in a little NYC history and some amazing panoramic views, all in the same place! Check out MomTrends take on this exciting new renovation.

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18 thoughts on “New York City’s Most Iconic Landmark Gets a Makeover”

  1. I am hoping to get out to New York sometime in the next year. I have not been to the Empire State building in such a long time I can’t wait to go back there and see all the changes they have done.

  2. My daughter has been asking to visit New York. I have never been, either, so it would be a first time trip for us both. We are planning one soon.

  3. Whoa, the whole city looks small when you’re over 100 floors above the ground. This new Empire State Building Observatory should definitely in any tourist’s list when visiting NYC.

  4. I have been up there once when we were on a girl’s trip to NYC. I would love to go back and see all the goodies there. It looks lovely and your children look like they are having a wonderful time.

  5. wow! Thank you for all these interesting info about the Empire State Building. I am glad to know about all these details.

  6. One of my dream place to travel! Thanks for sharing this, this inspired me to work hard and achieve my dream to go there.

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