Empire State Building's 80th floor renovations offer new visitor experience

Empire State Building: 80th floor experience
Empire State Building: 80th floor experience 03:01

After four years and $165 million, the final piece of the visitor experience at the Empire State Building is now complete. "CBS This Morning" co-host Tony Dokoupil was there as workers put the finishing touches on the 80th floor. 

"And now on the 80th floor is about discovering New York City," said Jean-Yves Ghazi, president of the Empire State Building Observatory.

The first thing you'll notice is the view, which was previously reserved for the observation decks above.

"The windows were covered over," Ghazi said. "This is the first time that our visitors get to see New York City on the 80th floor."

Visitors can also explore other tourist destinations from one of the city's most famous with touch screen kiosks that plan out a trip and download an itinerary to a smartphone. On the wall, there's a mural of the cityscape drawn from memory by artist Stephen Wiltshire after a chopper ride over Manhattan.

"Before, we only gave people two experiences, the line and the view," said Tony Malkin, the building's CEO. But, now, he said, it's time to move the Depression-era marvel into the modern age.

The visitor experience now begins with an interactive museum, doubling as a history lesson, and ends on the all glass 102nd floor observatory providing soaring views of the city.

"People used to race to get to the top ... And, now, they actually want to soak everything up," Malkin said. "This is a special spot. … We want people to be able to experience the peace and tranquility of being up here."

It all opens to the public Wednesday morning. To experience all the innovations, it costs at least $58. If you're satisfied to go only as high as the 86th floor, that ticket starts at $38.