On his way, after being startled by the sight of a passing elevated train on Third Avenue - thinking it is some gigantic snake - he tears up the track as a second train approaches, causing the second train to turn over and crash. Kong further damages the train (killing and injuring more passengers) by destroying one of its cars with his fists.
A radio report details Kong's progress - he carries her across New York City in his giant hand and makes his way for the city's tallest point or "tree", the Empire State Building, possibly because it reminds him of his mountaintop lair on Skull Island. Denham thinks they're defeated:
Denham: That licks us.
Driscoll: There's one thing we haven't thought of.
Police Officer: What?
Driscoll: Airplanes. If he should put Ann down, and they could fly close enough to pick him off without hitting her...
Police Officer: You're right, planes...
Four Navy biplanes are dispatched, each with fore and aft machine guns mounted on them. They approach the Empire State Building at sunrise, just as Kong is nearing the domed summit for a tryst with his Beauty. The film's final moments contain some of the most familiar and memorable of all images and sequences in film history. Atop the building, Kong clutches the girl whose blonde beauty touched his heart. He places Ann on a ledge and then roars in defiance at the planes.
A squadron of fighter biplanes swirl around him in an attack to shoot him down, as he swats at them like irritating mosquitoes or bees, but he cannot reach them. His battle against the biplanes is futile. Kong flinches as machine gun bullets rip into his body. Kong sends one careless pilot to a fiery death.
After a vicious attack into his throat and body, he is weakened and knows that he is dying. He touches his chest, and then looks at the blood on his fingers from a chest wound. He wipes his forehead with the back of his hand. He gently picks Ann up one last time to gaze at her with tender affection and love. Then, he returns her to the ledge and strokes her gently with his fingertips.
After another volley of bullets into his throat, his head droops and his body sways and staggers - he is barely able to hold on. When he loosens his hold from the building, he silently plunges to his death on the street below. Tragically, Kong is no longer an object of terror and fear, but of pity. Moments later, Ann is rescued by Jack Driscoll on the Empire State Dome.
He embraces his fiancee tightly in his arms
Driscoll: Ann, Ann, hang on, dear.
In the final scene on the street's pavement below, next to Kong's lifeless body that is sprawled there with blood trickling from his mouth, Denham pushes his way through the police cordon to examine the massive, crushed body of the fallen monster.
Denham: Let me through, officer, my name's Denham...Lieutenant, I'm Carl Denham.
He corrects the police officer lieutenant who claims he knows what killed Kong. Rather than the airplanes - a symbol of civilization, Denham states what finally killed the Beast. He shakes his head and replies with relish, in a classic line, the final line of the film . . .
Police Officer Lieutenant: Well, Denham, the airplanes got him.
Denham: Oh, no. It wasn't the airplanes. It was Beauty killed the Beast.