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Empire State Building Celebrates 90th Anniversary

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The Empire State Building turned 90 years old Saturday, and there was a lot of fanfare to celebrate the city's most well-known landmark.

It's the undisputed landmark of the New York City skyline, and on Saturday, the mayor, along with the city, celebrated the Empire State Building's 90th birthday, lighting up the icon that has long stood tall, strong and proud.

"She is the authentic representation of New York City, our spirit and how the biggest dreams start right here in the city so nice they named it twice," said Anthony E. Malkin, Empire State Realty Trust.

The building opened to the public on May 1, 1931, when President Herbert Hoover officially flipped the switch from the White House. It was an architectural marvel, built in one year and 45 days.

The tower quickly became a cultural icon, a must-visit tourist attraction and a backdrop to countless Hollywood movies.

In all, the building stands 1,454 feet tall over Midtown Manhattan between 33rd and 34th Streets at Fifth Avenue.

The landmark has been described as the most photographed building in the world. It welcomes about 4 million people each year.

"It is part of who we are, and it is the best place to see all the greatness of New York City," Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

The Empire State Building has endured the Great Depression and World War II. On its 90th anniversary, it's guiding people through another difficult time.

"This building will look out over the recovery of New York City, the comeback of New York City. I think you'll see a smile on the face of this building. You'll see those lights lit up to inspire us," de Blasio said.

A symbol of hope, strength and perseverance that will continue illuminating the city and its people.

Saturday night, the building was shining in its signature white with a special "90" lighting effect to commemorate the day.

CBS2's Christina Fan contributed to this report.

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