In August 2019, Skanska completed construction of the new entrance on 34th Street, which now serves as the dedicated entrance for more than four million Observatory guests each year. The entrance improves guest flow and features new self-service ticket kiosks, interactive exhibits, and a two-story scale model of the Empire State Building, which has turned into a must-see for visitors.
The team celebrated the grand opening of the Second Floor Observatory Experience in July 2019. The one-of-a-kind experience showcases the history behind the most famous building in the world. As visitors walk through the interactive museum, they are transported back in time to witness construction of the iconic building and the excitement of opening day. Other exhibits include Modern Marvel, Otis Elevators, Urban Campus, World’s Most Famous Building, and King Kong.
The next phase to open was the 102nd Floor Observation Deck. Visitors take a ride up 1,250 feet in a full glass elevator and are welcomed to 360-degree floor-to-ceiling windows offering unobstructed, panoramic views of the city. To complete this complex renovation without disrupting building operations – including visitor and worker access to the 86th Floor Observatory from 8:00 am to 2:00 am every day – Skanska employed an innovative “cocoon” enclosure system, which provided a safe environment for our workers and protected the public.
Last but not least, our team celebrated the opening of the Empire State Building’s new 80th Floor. This milestone completes the final phase of a four-year, top-to-bottom reimagining of the guest experience for visitors of the Empire State Building. The new 80th Floor features an exhibit from renowned artist Stephen Wiltshire, known for his ability to recreate detailed, accurate cityscapes from memory. A 12-foot-tall, 1,500-square-foot mural celebrates one of Wiltshire’s most iconic feats: sketching a panoramic view of Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs from memory after a 45-minute helicopter ride, reproduced to scale across an 80th floor wall. The team also worked with partners to install interactive LED displays and touch-screen panels, including NYC: Above & Beyond, an itinerary planner that curates a menu of attractions for visitors to see during their stay in New York.
After years of hard work, our New York team has transformed the iconic Empire State Building for visitors to enjoy for years to come.