The Empire State Building has recently undergone some renovations, and a new museum-like gallery has opened as another must-visit immersive experience in NYC.
on Monday, July 29, the Empire State Building unveiled a new Observatory Experience on the 2nd floor that takes guests through the history of the building’s creation, with a few galleries and interactive elements along the way. The reimagined Observatory Experience is a 10,000-square-foot space highlighting all aspects of the building’s history, including its influence on pop culture. One gallery that most notably touches on this is their new King Kong-inspired installation.
During this particular experience, visitors are invited to enter a 1930s office in the building “where the famous, giant ape’s fingers pierce the walls as he dangles from the building and dodges vintage fighter planes.” People are even welcome to step into King Kong’s hands—if they’re brave enough.
The new observatory was a $165 million project created by experience designer Thinc that replaced the area that was once just a waiting space with lines to head up to the famous 86th Floor Observatory. Now, visitors can enjoy this unique experience as they wait to see the spectacular views from the top.
According to a study done by Sony Mobile, the Empire State Building is the most Instagrammed U.S. landmark. That said, the creators of this new experience hope it will “fulfill the desire of today’s modern traveler to share authentic experiences.”
Other galleries people will be able to see in the new space include:
- The Site in the 1920s: A black-and-white panoramic image depicts the site of the original Waldorf-Astoria Hotel as construction of the Empire State Building begins. Through building surveyors, Guests can look in and see the New York City streets of the late 1920s come to life in full color.
- Construction: Inspired by the photography of Lewis Hine, visitors will be transported back in time as hot rivets, and steel beams fly overhead, and the sounds of New York City come alive in surround sound. Visitors can also interact with specially commissioned cast sculptures of construction workers as they work and take their lunch break.
- Opening Day: The excitement of opening day is palpable with a newsboy announcing the opening of the Empire State Building as he sells his papers on the streets of 1930s New York City
- Modern Marvel: The Modern Marvel exhibit outlines the specific measures taken to make the Empire State Building a world leader in sustainability and a leading example in energy efficiency.
- Otis Elevators: Otis delivered the groundbreaking technology that made the towering height of ESB possible. In a dedicated exhibit, Otis showcases not only how the original elevators operated, but teaches visitors about the latest technology installed in the newest elevators, which transport more than 10 million tenants and Observatory Guests each year. Visitors will also walk through a simulation of an actual elevator shaft and feel the energy created by the movement of the cars up close.
- Urban Campus: Very few visitors to the Empire State Building are aware of what goes on in the nearly 100 floors they don’t see. Urban Campus offers a glimpse into some of the major tenant spaces, amenities, and hidden views of the building as experienced by those who work there. The exhibit highlights some of these contemporary internet-age businesses, visible through peepholes that give guests an insider’s view of what these high-tech offices are like.
- World’s Most Famous Building: Set to an original score commissioned for this exhibit, more than seventy screens display highlights of ESB’s starring role in pop culture from every decade since the 1930s. Visitors from around the world will recognize the hundreds of movies, TV shows, commercials, cartoons, comic books, and video games that feature the world’s most famous building.
- Celebrity: The Empire State building is a popular destination for A-list celebrities and worldwide talent with many famous faces from around the globe visiting its world-famous 86thFloor Observatory. This exhibit highlights some of the most-famous visitors (athletes, musicians, actors) with their images and signed memorabilia adorning the walls for Guests to admire as they head to the elevators that will take them to their next stop: NYC: Above & Beyond on the 80th Floor.
featured image source: Twitter / Empire State Building
Also published on Medium.