Empire State Building

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{{Infobox World's Tallest Building |building_name= Empire State Building |image= Image:Manhattan at Dusk by slonecker.jpg |previous_building= Chrysler Building |year_built= 1931 |surpassed_by_building= World Trade Center |year_end= 1972 |location= New York City, U.S. |height_meters= 381 (roof) |height_feet= 1,250 (roof) |height_stories= 102 |construction_period= 1931 |destroyed= |emporis_id=114095}}

The Empire State Building is a 102-story contemporary Art Deco style building in New York City and is arguably the most famous skyscraper in the world. It was designed by Shreve, Lamb and Harmon and finished in 1931. The tower takes its name from the nickname of New York State and is currently the tallest building in New York City since the September 11th Attacks. The American Society of Civil Engineers declared the Empire State Building as one of the modern Seven Wonders of the World. The building also belongs to the World Federation of Great Towers.

The tower has approximate coordinates: Template:Coor dms


History and statistics

Image:Looking Up at Empire State Building.JPG Excavation of the site for the Empire State Building began on January 22, 1930, and construction on the building itself started on March 17th. The project was hurried to completion in order to take the title of "world's tallest building" from the Chrysler Building. The Empire State Building was officially opened on May 1, 1931, when President Herbert Hoover pressed a button in Washington, D.C. turning on the building's lights.

The ESB was the first building to have more than 100 floors. It remained the tallest skyscraper in the world for a record 41 years (and the world's tallest man-made structure for 23 years) until the construction of the World Trade Center, and shortly afterwards the Sears Tower. Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Empire State Building regained the title of tallest building in New York City, and the 2nd tallest building in the United States (see the 50 Tallest buildings in the U.S. list).

The building's distinctive art deco spire was originally designed to be a mooring mast and depot for zeppelins. However, after a couple of test attempts with airships, the idea proved to be impractical and dangerous due to the powerful updrafts caused by the size of the building itself, though the T-shaped mooring devices remain in place.

The lobby is three stories high and contains an aluminum relief of the skyscraper. The north corridor contains eight illuminated panels, created by Roy Sparkia and Renée Nemorov in 1963, depicting the building as the Eighth Wonder of the World alongside the traditional seven.

Image:Old timer structural worker.jpg The Empire State Building rises to 1,250 feet or 381 m at the 102nd floor, and its full structural height (including broadcast antenna) reaches 1,472 feet or 448 m. The building was officially opened on May 1, 1931, but much of its office space went unrented until the 1940s. This lack of inhabitants earned it the nickname "Empty State Building" in its early years. The large broadcasting antenna rising from the top of the building's spire was added in 1952.

A public observatory at the top of the building offers impressive views of the city, and is a popular tourist destination. Floodlights illuminate the top of the building at night, in colors chosen to match seasonal and other events. After the death of Frank Sinatra, for example, the building was bathed in blue light to represent the singer's nickname "Ol' Blue Eyes." After the death of actress Fay Wray in late 2004, the building stood in complete darkness for 15 minutes.

The floodlights bathed the building in red, white, and blue for several months after the destruction of the World Trade Center, then reverted to the standard schedule. Traditionally, in addition to the standard schedule the building will be lit in the colors of New York's sports teams on the nights they have home games (orange, blue and white for the New York Knicks, red, white and blue for the New York Rangers, and so on).

The building weighs approximately 330,000 metric tonnes. The building has 6,500 windows, 73 elevators, and 1,860 steps to the top floor. Total floor area: 204,385 m² (2,200,000 square feet or 50.5 acres) It is located at 350 Fifth Avenue, ZIP Code 10118, between 33rd and 34th Streets, in Midtown, Manhattan, directly across from Weehawken Cove, on the other side of the Hudson River.

Although the lower floors occupy the entire block, there are various "setbacks" in the building's design, as required by the New York City zoning law of 1916, to prevent the building from casting quite such a large shadow on its neighbors.

The building stands on a block once occupied by the original Waldorf Hotel, a haven for The Four Hundred, the social elite of New York in the late 19th Century. Previous to that, the site had first been developed as the John Thomson Farm, in the late 18th century.

1945 plane crash

At 9:49 a.m. on Saturday July 28, 1945, a B-25 Mitchell bomber accidentally crashed into the north side between the 79th and 80th floors, where the offices of the National Catholic Welfare Council were located. The fire was extinguished in 40 minutes. 14 people were killed in the accident. [1]

During the accident, elevator operator Betty Lou Oliver survived a plunge of 75 stories inside an elevator, and currently holds the Guinness World Record for the longest elevator fall recorded.


Image:Empire State Lobby.jpg The Empire State Building has been described as "the most valuable building in American broadcasting". New York City is the largest media market in the United States, and since September 11, 2001, nearly all of New York's commercial broadcast stations (both television and radio) have transmitted from the top of Empire. A few stations are located at the nearby Conde Nast Building, however.

Broadcasting began at Empire in the late 1930s, when RCA leased the 85th floor and built a laboratory there for Edwin Howard Armstrong. When Armstrong and RCA fell out, the 85th floor became the home of RCA's New York television operations, first as an experimental station and eventually as a commercial station WNBT, channel 4 (now WNBC-TV). Other television broadcasters would join RCA at Empire, on the 83rd, 82nd, and 81st floors, frequently bringing sister FM stations along for the ride. When the World Trade Center was being constructed, it caused serious problems for the television stations, most of which moved to the World Trade Center as soon as it was completed. This made it possible to renovate the antenna structure and the transmitter facilities for the benefit of the FM stations remaining there, which were soon joined by other FMs and UHF TVs moving in from elsewhere in the metropolitan area. The destruction of the World Trade Center necessitated a great deal of shuffling of antennas and transmitter rooms in order to accommodate the stations moving back uptown.

As of 2005, Empire is home to the following stations:

In pop culture

Image:Skyscrapercompare1.PNG Image:Empire State Building Night.jpg Image:Empirestatebuilding29122005.JPG

  • Perhaps the most famous popular culture representation of the building is in the 1933 film King Kong, in which the title character, a giant ape, climbs to the top to escape his captors, and eventually dies by falling off of it. In 1983, for the 50th anniversary of the film, an inflatable King Kong was placed on the real Empire State Building. However, a mouse chewed through it one day, partially deflating the ape. He also needed a constant supply of air, and was never fully inflated.
  • In 2005, Peter Jackson, director of the blockbuster Lord of the Rings movies, released a new version of King Kong set in a recreation of 1930's New York City, including a final showdown between Kong and the bi-planes atop a greatly detailed Empire State Building.
  • The observation deck was the designated site for romantic rendezvous in the films Love Affair, An Affair to Remember, Sleepless In Seattle, and a phony Martian invasion in an episode of I Love Lucy.
  • The film Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow opens with a zeppelin docking at the building's mooring mast. Additionally, the building can be seen with King Kong scaling it in the background of one of the shots.
  • An episode of the Supermarionation science fiction series Thunderbirds involves an attempt to move the Empire State Building to a new location, resulting in the building's collapse, with people trapped underneath that must be rescued.
  • In the 300th issue of Superman magazine, the Empire State building is refurbished during the early 1980s to reclaim the title of world's tallest building; rising 1000 stories.
  • In the movie Independence Day, the building is ground zero when an alien spaceship destroys New York City. This depiction was a homage to a similar SF invasion movie scene described in the science fiction short story "Publicity Campain" by Arthur C. Clarke. .
  • In The Chase, a 1965 serial from the William Hartnell-era of Doctor Who, the Doctor, Barbara Wright, Ian Chesterton and Vicki, fleeing through time and space with a group of Daleks in hot pursuit, arrive in their TARDIS time machine on the Observation Deck of the Empire State Building (thus avoiding the long lines). They leave shortly after arriving and shortly before the pursuing Daleks' time machine materializes. The Daleks, ignoring the view, leave almost immediately.
  • The building has a cameo role in the 1946 cartoon Baseball Bugs. Fitting the cartoon's theme, the skyscraper is labeled the "Umpire State Building".
  • In Godzilla: Final Wars. the pterosaur Rodan perches atop the skyscraper and howls at the moon before continuing his rampage on New York City eventually destroying the Statue of Liberty.
  • In Unbuilding, by David Macaulay, the building is bought and dissassembled, to be reassembled halfway across the world as a corporate headquarters.
  • In the 2003 Christmas-themed film Elf, Will Ferrell's father, played by James Caan, works in a publishing company in the building.
  • In the 2 parter season 4 episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise, Storm Front, there is an alternate timeline where the eastern side of the United States is being conquered by the Germans, with the aid of aliens. The opening teaser of part 2, shows a propaganda news reel which shows footage of Adolf Hitler visiting New York, and the Empire State Building.
  • In Futurama episode "Anthology of Interest I", huge Bender falls on the Empire State Building. He says before dying: "Oooh... who put this in here?"
  • In the video game Spider-Man 2, you can explore, wing from and climb the Manhattan skyscrapers, including the ESB. It is common for the player to climb to the top and dive off, seeing how close to the ground he/she can get before bailing out on a web-line.

Similar skyscrapers

The Torre Latinoamericana in Mexico City looks very similar to the Empire State Building. Also of similar design are the Seven Sisters in Moscow, such as the Moscow State University building and the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, Poland. The Williams Tower in Houston is a glass-architecture version of the design, and the entrance on the ground floor is very similar.

The Reynolds Building, headquarters for the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in Winston-Salem, North Carolina is the oldest skyscraper in the southeastern United States, and said to be the prototype for the Empire State Building.


See also


Further reading

  • The Empire State Building Book, by Jonathan Goldman, St. Martin's Press, 1980.
  • Unbuilding, by David Macaulay, Houghton Mifflin, 1986.
  • The Empire State Building - The making of a landmark, by John Tauranac, Scribner, 1995.

External links

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