The Empire State Building to Celebrate 90 Years

April 29, 2021

New York (Apr. 29, 2021) – The World’s Most Famous Building, the Empire State Building (ESB) will celebrate its 90th anniversary May 1, 2021. 

“The Empire State Building, the international icon and symbol of dreams, was a record breaker and trendsetter 90 years ago,” said Anthony E. Malkin, chairman, president, and CEO of Empire State Realty Trust. “Today she is fully modernized for the 21st century, a world leader in energy efficiency retrofits in the built environment, indoor environmental quality, and on building health practices.” 

“Since we first opened our doors 90 years ago, the Empire State Building Observatory has been the must-visit for travelers from around the world,” said Jean-Yves Ghazi, president of the Observatory. “We’ve welcomed everyone from the Queen of England to the Queen of Christmas (Mariah Carey) through our doors, and our most important visitors are our Observatory guests from around the world who today visit our brand new, $165 million recreation of our entire experience. With New York reopened as of July 1, we look forward to visits from our fans near and far who can safely travel to celebrate this important anniversary.” 


skyline image of building
90th anniversary

Brand-New Offerings for Visitors 

To mark 90 years, the Empire State Building will kick off a wealth of new offerings, with more announcements to be made over the course of the year-long festivities.  

  • Birthday Lighting: ESB’s world-famous tower lights will sparkle in white with a special “90” illuminated in the mast throughout the night.  
  • New Historical Tour: The new 90 in 90 Tour will take guests on a 90-year journey in 90 minutes as they explore the building’s rich history. Treated as a VIP with their own ESB Ambassador at their side, guests quickly become insiders and go behind-the-scenes at the Empire State Building.  
  • 90th Anniversary Collectors’ Items: The Empire State Building’s gift shop will offer limited edition, 90th Anniversary items available only on-site.  
  • Birthday Giveaway: With the purchase of a Sunrise, Premium or All Access ticket to the Observatory, guests will be gifted a complimentary, celebratory 90th anniversary tote bag. 
  • David Yurman Window Display: In honor of ESB’s 90th anniversary,America’s foremost luxury jewelry brand David Yurman will launch its new “Empire Collection” of women’s jewelry and men’s accessories – all inspired by the Art Deco architectural wonder – with a window display in the building’s famed Fifth Avenue lobby. The Empire collection will be available exclusively at David Yurman retail stores and on  
  • Sweeping Views with Starbucks Coffee: For the entire month of May, guests who show their Observatory ticket at the 34th Street Starbucks located inside ESB before or after their visit will receive a $0.90 tall, hot or iced coffee and a Starbucks reusable cup while supplies last. 


A Reimagined Guest Experience 

Since its construction, the Empire State Building has taken pride in its status as the World’s Most Famous Building – an international symbol of technology, imagination, and ambition. Recent renovations and a reimagined visitor experience serve as an example for other buildings and attractions across the globe. 

  • Reimagination of The Observatory Experience: A five-year, $165 million overhaul of the visitor journey to the 86th Floor Observatory was completed in 2019 and introduced a new dedicated guest entrance on 34th Street, an immersive 10,000 square foot museum, and additional exhibits on the redesigned 80th Floor. A brand-new 102nd Floor Observatory with floor-to-ceiling windows complete the redo. ESB also improved indoor air quality throughout the building and specifically throughout the Observatory Experience with industry-leading MERV 13 filters and AtmosAir bi-polar ionization. The building lives within the larger Empire State Realty Trust real estate portfolio, which was the first in the Americas to achieve the evidence-based, third-party verified WELL Health-Safety Rating for overall health and safety. 
  • Sustainability RetrofitOver the last 10 years, the Empire State Building underwent a ground-breaking energy and efficiency retrofit as part of the $550 million Empire State ReBuilding program that transformed it into one of today’s most efficient historic landmarks. The building is in the top 20 percent of all Class A commercial assets in the nation and has been recognized by more than ten independent organizations for its sustainability leadership. As a result of these efforts, ESRT earned the highest possible GRESB 5 Star Rating and Green Star recognition for sustainability performance in real estate and was named a Fitwel Champion for healthy, high-performance buildings. ESB looks forward to a more sustainable future with a recently announced target to reach carbon neutrality by 2030. 
  • Updated Tower Lights: In 2012, the Empire State Building upgraded its world-famous tower lights to now display more than 16 million colors. The new lights debuted with the building’s first music-to-light show set to Alicia Keys’ Girl on Fire and Empire State of Mind. The building recently brought back the classic show during 2020 to bring a moment of joy to all New Yorkers during the pandemic. 
  • Restoration of an Art Deco ClassicIn 2009, the celestial ceiling mural of the Empire State Building’s Fifth Avenue Lobby was fully restored. The project used aluminum leaf and 23-karat gold, the same materials from 1931, and took more than 20,000 man hours. Just last year, the silhouette of the Empire State Building was also restored to the original design that influenced various architectural styles. With the removal of various antennas and a new coat of silver waterproof paint, ESB sparkles like new. 


“Over the past 90 years, the Empire State Building has been the undisputed landmark of the New York City skyline, with its iconic tower lights that shine as a symbol of hope, strength and perseverance,” said Mr. Malkin. “We will continue to innovate and push boundaries in technology, sustainability and tourism to ensure that the Empire State Building remains America’s Favorite Building for the next 90 years as well.” 

Images and b-roll of the Empire State Building’s archival footage, Observatory Experience, and signature lightings can be found here. With more news and announcements to come, be sure to follow the Empire State Building on LinkedInInstagramTwitter and Facebook to stay up to date. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit 

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