350 5th Ave
at 34th St
New York, NY 10118
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One of the world's most famous skyscrapers is easily recognized by its strong, slender ascent into the NY sky. The building opened in 1931 at a cost of $41 million after about a year of construction, making it the fastest development of any major skyscraper (4.5 stories per week). At 1,450 feet this landmark soars more than a quarter mile into the Manhattan atmosphere. Observation decks are on the 86th and 102nd floors. The lower deck is probably the better spot for the best views. On clear days, there can be an amazing 80-mile visibility. The upper deck is good too, just smaller and glassed in. Getting there involves a giddying elevator ride to the 102nd floor. Also available is a virtual trip around the city on the New York Skyride, an exciting thrill-ride simulated helicopter experience. In the lobby, special concerts and art exhibits are offered at various times throughout the year -- usually bizarre, but it helps kill time. If you are observing the Empire from another building, you may notice on occasion that the top 30 stories are illuminated by colored lights. Since 1976, varying color combinations have served as a New York City-style Empire celebration of different holidays. TRAIN: 6 to 33rd St; B, D, F, N, Q, R to 34th St.
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