Empire State Building completes $165M revamp with new observatory

Empire State Building completes $165M revamp with new observatory

An observatory with five windows, several binoculars, and Art Deco details in its ceiling. Photos: Courtesy of Empire State Realty Trust

The new 80th floor observatory concludes a four-year renovation at NYC’s most iconic skyscraper

With the debut of a new 80th-floor observatory last week, the Empire State Building has officially completed its four-year, $165 million redevelopment of the iconic skyscraper. The opening came a little over four months after unveiling its new 10,000-square-foot mini museum and almost two months after opening its new 102nd-floor observation deck.

The newly-unveiled 80th floor—crafted by a team led by Thinc Design—has six different components, all geared towards highlighting the building’s prominent place in the city’s skyline. This includes an exhibit, in partnership with NYC & Company, which allows visitors to create their own itinerary; several binoculars with augmented reality scenes of NYC; new self-service kiosks for visitors to pick up photos they took on the second floor’s green screen; and a drawing of the building made by British artist Stephen Wiltshire.

Part of the overall purpose of the redevelopment is to encourage visitors to share their experience at the building via social media, and the new 80th floor experience includes a section dedicated to that: four screens that create “mosaic shadows” of visitors that post their pictures using the building’s hashtag.

“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,” Anthony E. Malkin, chairman and CEO of Empire State Realty Trust, said in a statement.

“The completed Empire State Building Observatory elevates our guests’ experience, from our new entrance to the dramatic and exciting new 102nd floor,” said Malkin.

Several floor-to-ceiling interactive screens.
New interactive video blades allow visitors to design their itineraries.
Three windows with panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline, a binocular, and a wall covered in a black and white drawing.
The revamped 80th floor features British artist Stephen Wiltshire’s drawings and several binoculars.
A binocular with views of the Statue of Liberty.
The view inside one of the observatory’s binoculars.
A floor with Art Deco-style ceilings, several binoculars, and walls covered in a black and white drawing.
From the new 80th floor, using the building’s viewfinders, visitors can also see panoramic views of different locations across New York City, including Coney Island and Times Square.

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