The Empire State Building Lights Up For the Christmas Spectacular

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It’s official:The holiday season is officially here!

To celebrate the opening night of the 2016 Christmas Spectacular, we flipped the switch at the Empire State Building to light up the New York City skyline with the colors of the holiday season: red and green!

“Year after year the show creates holiday memories for families all over the world,” says Joseph Bellina, General Manager of the Empire State Building. “We are proud to celebrate another season with this time-honored New York City tradition.”

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So when did the Empire State Building first shine its lights? On May 1, 1931. The Empire State Building officially opened for business when President Herbert Hoover turned on the building’s lights with the push of a button from Washington, D.C. Since then, the landmark skyscraper and its brilliant lights have become an iconic part of the New York City skyline.

About 45 years later, in 1976, visitors and residents alike were wowed when the building went Technicolor for the first time, donning red, white and blue to mark the nation’s bicentennial. Since its first foray into color, the Empire State Building has never looked back.

There’s much to love about one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions—here are a few fun facts about the famous skyscraper:

  1. In 2012, the Empire State Building swapped its color gels for a new LED lighting system capable of creating a staggering 16 million different color combinations.
  2. Thursdays-Saturdays from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m., hear a saxophonist on the 86th floor Observatory.
  3. It only took one year and 45 days to build the ESB, rising at 4½ floors per week.
  4. The top of the Empire State Building is used for broadcasting the majority of commercial TV stations and FM radio stations in New York City.
  5. The Empire State Building is home to so many businesses that it has its own ZIP code: 10118.
  6. On a clear day, visitors to the Empire State Building’s observation decks can see five states: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.
  7. The Empire State Building Run-Up (ESBRU)—the world’s oldest and most famous tower race—challenges runners from around the globe to race up its famed 86 flights—1,576 stairs. While visitors can reach the building’s Observatory via elevator in under a minute, the fastest runners cover the 86 floors in about 10 minutes.
  8. On foggy autumn and spring nights, the lights are turned off so that migrating birds don’t get confused by the bright lights and fly into the building.
  9. Couples who marry on the 80th floor each year on Valentine’s Day become members of the Empire State Building Wedding Club, and receive free admission to the observatory each year on their February 14th anniversary.
  10. The Empire State Building is struck by lightning an average of 23 times a year.
  11. The Empire State Building is ranked number one on the list of America’s Favorite Architecture by the American Institute of Architects.
  12. Couples should be careful kissing on the top of the Empire State Building because the static electricity is so strong that people on the observatory floor can see sparks when they smooch.
  13. The Empire State Building is the tallest LEED certified building in the United States.
  14. The 102nd Floor Observatory was originally planned as a check-in area for airships docked at the tower.