Empire State Building

Empire State Building: Symbol of New York

The Empire State Building for 41 years the tallest building in the world, opened on May 1, 1931.  Named for New York State's nickname, the building instantly became a symbol of the city, and indeed the entire country.  It was the first building to have over 100 stories; over 10,000 people visit it each day; and from its observation deck you can see five states.

History

The Empire State Building sits on the site of the original Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.  The building, designed by William Lamb of Shreve, Lamb, and Harmon, was completed in just under 14 months, with workmen finishing four and a half floors each week. The finished building stands 1250 feet tall at the 102nd floor and 1472 feet at the top of the antenna.

The Building

The Empire State Building encompasses an entire city block.  The building fronts Fifth Avenue and occupies the block between 33rd and 34th Streets.  So many offices occupy the building that it even has its own zip code, 10118. The gracious Art Deco lobby stands three stories tall and is adorned with striking bronze and carved stone panels.

 The building of the ESB was a fierce competition for the title of the "World's Tallest Building".  The Chrysler Building, under construction at the same time, also coveted the title.  The Empire State Building won in the end by concealing its plans for the dirigible aerial and the radio antenna at the top of the building until the last possible minute.

Empire State Building in the Movies

The Empire State Building has been a favorite of the motion picture industry since it first opened.  Numerous movie classics have included the building in their plot, including King Kong, An Affair to Remember, and Sleepless in Seattle.  More recently, the movies Elf and Independence Day have featured the building.

Trivia and Fun Facts

  • The T-shaped top of the building was originally designed as a mooring point for the popular zeppelin airships.  It was never used, however, as the air currents caused by the size of the building made the mooring too dangerous.

  • There are 73 elevators in the Empire State Building.

  • The building changes the colors of its lighting for holidays and memorials, such as pink for National Breast Cancer Awareness Day, green for St. Patrick's Day, and the building was awash in blue light after Frank Sinatra’s ("Old Blue Eyes") death.  

  • It takes approximately $4.5 million to light the building each year.  

  • 15,000 people work in the Empire State Building.  

  • The ESB has 6500 windows.

Visiting the Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is a must-see for any visitor to New York City.  Between 10,000 and 20,000 people visit the building each day.  The ESB is open daily from 9:30am until midnight, with the last elevator leaving at 1115pm.  The view is spectacular day or night, and on a clear day, you can see up to 80 miles away. 

Tickets may be purchased at the building ticket counter or, to save time, online at the ESB website.  You can even print the tickets on your printer.  (There's a slight service charge if they send hem to you.)  If you can't make it to New York, you can take a virtual tour of the building, including a 360-degree view from the observation deck.

The Empire State Building is a national treasure.  If you haven’t seen it, or if you haven’t seen it lately, make plans to visit this extraordinary and historic building.

Location: at 350 Fifth Avenue at 34th Street
Phone: 212-736-3100

Click here to visit Empire State Building official website.

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