USA // New York City //

The Empire State Building

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Up Fifth Avenue is the Empire State Building, at 34th Street and Fifth Avenue (daily 8am–2am, last trip up at 1.15am; $20; t 212/736-3100, w http://www.esbnyc.com), which has been a muscular 102-storey symbol of New York since it was completed in 1931. After the terrorist attacks of September 11th, it became, as it once was, the city’s tallest building. An elevator takes you to the 86th floor, which was the summit of the building before the radio and TV mast was added. The views from the outside walkways here are as stunning as you’d expect (you can continue up to the tiny 102nd-floor observatory for an extra $15, but the view is about the same). For the best experience, you should try to time your visit so that you’ll reach the top at sunset; note that during peak times, waits to ascend can be upwards of an hour.