Empire State

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By James S. How do you take the measure of a New York City more physically transformed than at any time since the s? Residential towers marching in lock step along the Queens and Brooklyn edges of the East River. The skinny supertalls slicing into the view of Central Park. Simultaneously, its designers have tried to banish the things visitors hate about the observation-deck trek: the lines, the crowds, the congestion.

2. It was modeled after two earlier buildings.

The owner of the building, Empire State Realty Trust , has created a new entrance, and a 10,square-foot exhibition that not only fascinates in its own right you can be Fay Wray to a realistically animated King Kong but also reduces the lines to a security checkpoint. The ride is a mere 55 seconds to the 86th floor observatory, which has been spruced up. I got a sneak peek over the last month as construction was wrapping up, and my first looks suggest the revamped observatory is likely to become a must-see, even for jaded natives.

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But I urge you to leave the selfie stick at home, and just look. The changes start right on West 34th Street, west of Fifth Avenue. Art Deco building details have been reproduced and giant historical photos enliven the path to a security checkpoint. The landing in front of the model becomes an amiable scrum with strangers helping families pose and people trading phones and cameras.

Such photo ops which are abundant slow people down, which minimizes congestion at the six elevators devoted to the observatory. The displays demonstrate how digitally driven showmanship can take a potentially dull idea — explaining how the building was built — and turn it into a delightful experience. Statues of workers are placed to invite visitors to pose for photos. I realized that memory-making was being shamelessly engineered, but I happily succumbed.

I was inspired by the exhibitions to dig deeper. Alfred E. Smith, a former governor of New York, announced the Empire State Building in , at the peak of a building frenzy not so different from that which preceded the crash or … now. That year, developers were proposing story towers right and left. The architects shifted most of the bulk into a 25,square-foot shaft that rises in blond fluted limestone from the center of a five-story base to the 80th floor, with just a few shallow setbacks.

The shaft anticipated the stripped-clean imagery of International Modernism that would soon come to prominence. Market Tours. Street Food Tours. Day of the Dead.

Empire State Building

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21046 Empire State Building

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1. It was constructed during a race to create the world’s tallest building.

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