It’s been four years in the making, but the Empire State Building’s $165 million dollar renovation project is officially complete with the finalization of its 80th floor, featuring an interactive city itinerary and augmented reality scenes from around NYC.
The entire project, the “Observatory Experience,” began in 2015. Along the way it has involved a brand new second-floor museum as well as completely renovated 86th and 102nd floor observatories.
Don’t miss: the 86th floor’s larger-than-life King Kong installation!
The 80th floor is the final floor to be completed, and was redesigned to feature six exhibits over 13,000 square feet that take advantage of interactive, modern technology.
There is a partnership with NYC & Company, for example, that helps visitors design their own custom city itinerary using a database of thousands of activities and destinations across all five boroughs. Visitors can easily download the custom itinerary with help from a QR code, with recommendations based on their interests and length of stay (for tourists).
You can also peer inside classic binoculars and see augmented reality scenes from Times
Square to Coney Island — even hearing sounds from the streets.
The new floor opens to the public today, Wednesday, November 27. The other featured exhibits include:
- Artistry in Light: Ever wonder how the Empire State Building’s music-to-light shows are created?
The Artistry in Light exhibit features a short film narrated by world-renowned lighting designer Marc Brickman, a master of light creation. The film features highlights from his designs, such as the first-ever music-to-light show with Alicia Keys in 2012, and a holiday light show synced to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas is You.”
- Stephen Wiltshire’s Drawing: In 2017, famed British artist Stephen Wiltshire took a 45-minute
helicopter ride above Manhattan. He then drew an incredibly detailed landscape drawing of New
York City, while in residence on the 80th floor of the Empire State Building, completely from memory. A three-minute film documents his process, from the 45-minute helicopter ride to the four days in which he created the original piece of art.
- Showtime Pictures: Excited to see the photos taken in front of the green screen on
the 2nd floor? The pictures are captured from 25 different angles utilizing 25 different HD cameras
to create an immersive experience to tell a visual narrative. The new location for pick up has been
redesigned with facial recognition technology, to speed the retrieval and purchase process
through self-serviced kiosks.
- Share Your Experience: As visitors enter the exit queue, they are encouraged to share their
pictures on their social media platforms by four screens that create mosaic shadows of each visitor
with images shared by other guests that use the hashtag #empirestatebuilding.
featured image source: Empire State Realty Trust