New Observatory Opens at Top of Empire State Building

NEW YORK — The Empire State Building (ESB) is one of the world’s most famous buildings and it just opened a newly renovated Observatory on the 102nd floor with 360-degree views and floor-to-ceiling glass windows.

(Photo: The new Empire State Building Observation deck, Source: PRNewsFoto/Empire State Realty Trust)

Tourists that visit the new Empire State Building experience will receive their first “wow” moment when they enter an all glass elevator on the 86th floor. As they travel 16 stories through a newly-renovated glass shaft to 102, they will be provided a never-before-seen look at the inside of the tower’s mast and a glimpse of its world-famous tower lights. Once the elevator nears its destination, Guests get a sneak peek at the breathtaking views before stepping out onto the Observatory. Made up of 24 crystal-clear, eight-foot-tall windows, the 102nd floor is an enclosed, climate-controlled, all-weather Observation Deck allowing 360-degree views of the city and beyond from the heart of New York City.

“The 102nd floor Observatory is the crown jewel of the Empire State Building. We’ve removed all the obstructions and obstacles, giving Guests access to a view that is centrally-located and unrivaled in New York City,” said Anthony Malkin, Chairman and CEO of Empire State Realty Trust, which owns and manages the building. “The Observatory Entrance and the second-floor galleries have been embraced by our visitors, and the 102nd floor’s reopening is a major moment in our progress to complete the new Empire State Building Observatory Experience.”

Construction of the 102nd floor began in January 2019 within a state-of-the-art suspended “cocoon” — a circular scaffolding structure — the highest of its kind in New York. The cocoon allowed work to take place with no impact to Guests visiting the world-famous 86th floor Observatory. The design and structural work, which highlights not only the external views, but also the historical elegance of the original features, was conducted by a team of architectural and design experts including:

  • Beneville Studios
  • Corgan
  • Diversified.
  • IDEO
  • JLL
  • Kubik Maltbie
  • Otis
  • Skanska
  • Squint/Opera
  • Syska Hennessy
  • The Lighting Practice
  • Thinc
  • Thornton Tomassetti

The 102nd floor Observatory is the third phase in the renovation of the Empire State Building tourist experience, following the successful openings of the Observatory entrance at 20 West 34th Street and the immersive second-floor galleries.

In 2018, revenues from the Empire State Building Observatory were $131.2 million and remains one of NY’s most popular attractions. Over 3.8 million people visited the Observatory last year, down 3.4% according to Empire State Realty Trust. The 102nd floor was closed at the beginning of 2018 for construction which likely hurt attendance figures.

Tickets to the 86th floor Observatory start at $38 and tickets to the 102nd floor Observatory can be purchased for an additional $20. VIP Express passes — which let you skip the line — are $93 each.