The Empire State Building was officially opened on May 1, 1931, fwho turned on the building's lights with the ceremonial button push from Washington, D.C.. Over 350 guests attended the opening ceremony, and following luncheon, An account from that day stated that the view from the luncheon was obscured by a fog, with other landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty being "lost in the mist". The building officially opened the next day. Advertisements for the observatories were placed in local newspapers, while nearby hotels also released advertisements that lauded their proximity to the newly opened tower.
The Empire State Building's opening coincided with the Great Depression in the United States, and as a result much of its office space was vacant from its opening. In the first year, only 23% of the available space was rented, as compared to the early 1920s, where the average building would have occupancy of 52% upon opening and 90% rented within five years. The lack of renters led New Yorkers to deride the building as the "Empty State Building"