Cameras for personal use should be fine at the Empire State Building, but tripods, professional cameras, etc., will probably not get past security screening. Nor will their cases, your carry-on luggage...
From the Empire State Building official FAQ:
The items listed are not permitted in the Empire State Building. Do not carry any of these items into the security screening area. Items that are confiscated may not be returned. Please note that this list is not exhaustive, so if you are unsure about an item, please do not bring it. Any questions and uncertainties should be referred to the Security Officers on duty.
- All weapons, including firearms, ammunition, knives, swords, scissors, mace, any dangerous items and any dual-use items that could be dangerous are strictly prohibited in the Empire State Building.
- Glass items, including bottles, glasses, marbles, etc.
- Alcoholic beverages
- Cans, bottles, flasks, etc.
- Professional cameras, equipment and camera stands: mono-pods, bi-pods and tri-pods
- Sports equipment such as skateboards, roller skates, golf clubs, baseball bats, hockey sticks, baseballs, footballs, tennis balls, etc.
- Marking instruments, including spray paint and markers
- Musical instruments
- Large packages, suitcases, carry-on luggage and other such parcels.
- Costumes and masks