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Suz Pathmanathan

King Kong Returns to the Empire State Building!

The Eighth Wonder of the World, a.ka. King Kong has returned to the Empire State Building. Not only is he the inspiration for a brand new Broadway show, but he’s also back where he belongs. The 86-year-old giant ape that first tormented the Big Apple in 1933 has returned with a vengeance in the form of an interactive exhibit at the iconic Empire State Building.

Kong is a part of the new ESB museum that opened last week - a fun extension of the recently revealed tech-driven observatory entrance at 20 West 34th Street.

Photo by: Empire State Building/Empire State Realty Trust

How to see King Kong at the Empire State Building

To experience Kong in all his glory, guests can enter a thirties era office designed in line with the building’s Art Deco sheen. The most unnerving aspect of this room are the broken windows showing two giant ape hands reaching into the building. King Kong himself peeps in through the window via a video installation as he climbs to the top of the skyscraper.

The new museum is another exciting phase of the building’s $165 million renovations, which includes a new lighting ceremony installation and digital hosts. Work is expected to wrap up by the end of this year.

In addition to the King Kong exhibit, the museum looks at the history and cultural impact of the 45th tallest building in the world. The Empire State Building has popped up in over 250 TV shows, and films: the building’s first appearance was in, you guessed it, King Kong. These two icons go way back.

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The Museum

Be sure to check out these immersive experience featured across its nine galleries. Admission tickets ensure access to the new second-floor immersive exhibits; as well as entry to the iconic 360-degree view open air Observatory:

The Site in the 1920s

Starting at its very beginning, black and white photos show the empty site of the original Waldorf Astoria Hotel before the skyscraper’s construction began. 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

Step into the past with moving photographs based on the work of Lewis Hine. Visitors can also interact with specially commissioned cast sculptures of construction workers as they work and take their lunch break.

Modern Marvel

Creating a safe space for the environment is precisely what the building aims to achieve. The Modern Marvel exhibit outlines the specific measures taken to make the Empire State Building a world leader in sustainability.

Otis Elevators

Otis Elevators designed the original elevators for the 102 floors. Walk through a simulation of an actual elevator shaft in this dedicated exhibit from Otis Elevators. It showcases not only how the original elevators operated, but the latest technology installed in the newest elevators. With more than 10 million tenants and Observatory Guests each year, these enduring machines are truly fascinating feats of engineering.

Urban Campus

Most visitors aren’t aware that the building houses tenants from airline offices to tourist boards. The Urban Campus display offers a glimpse into some of the significant tenant spaces, amenities, and hidden views of the building.

World’s Most Famous Building

An original score has been created especially for the exhibit. Guests are free to explore the space, surrounded by more than seventy screens displaying ESB’s starring role in pop culture. These have been sourced from every decade since the 1930s with movie posters and clips.

King Kong

Stroll into an office from the 1930s where the famous giant ape’s fingers reach through the walls. Just like the classic movie, he dangles from the building and dodges vintage bi-planes. Those feeling brave enough can step into Kong’s hands for the ultimate Instagram post.

Celebrity

Many famous faces from around the world have graced the windy observatory atop the ESB. This exhibit highlights some of the most-famous visitors (athletes, musicians, actors) to the attraction. Their images and signed memorabilia adorn the walls. Guests can stop to admire these as they head to the elevators that will take them to their next stop: NYC: Above & Beyond on the 80th Floor.

The museum is open from 8 AM to 2 AM, seven days a week. Get down there and meet Kong for yourself!

Need more inspiration on things to do in NYC? Step right this way.

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