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The Empire State Building is an iconic building in American culture. Known for it’s great height and architectural beauty, the icon has been seen in over 250 TV shows and films. The Empire State Building has not only been used on screen to represent New York City as the centerpiece of the city skyline, it has also set the scene for some of the most climactic moments in cinematic history.

Perhaps the most famous representation of the building on screen is in the 1933 film, King Kong, released just one year after the Empire State Building was finished being built. The film is known for the sequence in which King Kong, a giant ape, climbs to the top of the Empire State Building to escape his captors.

The original King Kong was created using stop motion animation. The “giant ape” was actually only an 18 inch high, poseable model, covered with rabbit hair, that was filmed one frame at a time in Los Angeles on miniature sets of the jungle and New York City. Actual close up footage of The Empire State Building was added to the film upon the 1952 reissue of King Kong. In 1983, for the 50th anniversary of the film, an inflatable King Kong was placed on top of the real Empire State Building. However, a mouse chewed through it one day, partially deflating the ape!

The 1957 film An Affair to Remember, gave movie fans a more romantic “affair to remember” than the affair between King Kong and the famous point a top the Empire State Building. When Nickie Ferrante (Cary Grant) proposes to love interest, Terry McKay (Deborah Kay) that she meet him on the 102nd floor of the building, a new cinematic cliché was introduced, and the Empire State Building became a location known for romantic rendezvous.

In the 1993, romantic comedy, Sleepless in Seattle Annie (Meg Ryan) waits for Sam (Tom Hanks) at the top of the Empire State Building, a reference to the reunion that never happened between Nickie Ferrante and Terry McKay in the 1957 film.

In 2010, the popular teen drama Gossip Girl features an episode in season three titled, “You can’t ‘An Affair to Remember’ Me!” . In this episode, characters Chuck and Blair decide to rekindle their love and agree to meet on top of the Empire State Building. However, Blair doesn’t make it to her meeting with Chuck, without giving him any explanation, following the storyline that An Affair to Remember made classic.

To learn more about what’s been filmed at the Empire State Building and other New York City locations, join us on the NYC TV & Movie Tour or Gossip Girl Sites Tour

* In an effort to stay current, we are constantly updating our tours with new locations and cannot guarantee the presence of locations mentioned on our site. If you have a particular interest in locations from a specific TV show or movie, please let your tour guide know and we will do our best to accommodate your request.