The Empire State Building

Address: 350 Fifth Avenue
Architect: Shreve, Lamb & Harmon Associates

Top of the roof height: 1,250 ft (381 m), of outside observation deck: 1,211 ft (369 m)
102 floors over ground
Construction started in 1930 and finished in 1931

The views from the Observatory of the Empire State Building

Community

See more pictures of Empire State Building on Wired New York Forum

Flickr

Empire State Building group

Resources

Official web site of the Empire State Building

Book Recommendations

Empire State Building: The Making of a Landmark
by John Tauranac
Empire: A Tale of Obsession, Betrayal, and the Battle for an American Icon
Each day over 4,000 people take the elevator up to the observatory of the Empire State Building to catch a minute of glory. What almost none of them have known–until now–is just how many people have fought to own outright the crown jewel beneath them, and the chaos that these trophy hunters have caused.

Building Info

The Empire State Building is a 102-story Art Deco skyscraper in New York City at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street. Its name is derived from the nickname for the state of New York. It stood as the world’s tallest building for more than forty years, from its completion in 1931 until construction of the World Trade Center’s North Tower was completed in 1972. Following the destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001, the Empire State Building once again became the tallest building in New York City and New York State.

The Empire State Building has been named by the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. The building and its street floor interior are designated landmarks of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1986. In 2007, it was ranked number one on the List of America’s Favorite Architecture according to the AIA.

The Empire State Building is the 7th tallest building in the World (as measured to roof height) and the 2nd tallest building in the Western Hemisphere (only the Sears Tower in Chicago is taller).  It is the 6th tallest building in the World (as measured to pinnacle height) and the 3rd tallest building in the Western Hemisphere (preceded by the Sears Tower and John Hancock Center in Chicago). 

The construction was part of an intense competition in New York for the title of the world’s tallest building. Two other projects fighting for the title, 40 Wall Street and the Chrysler Building, were still under construction when work began on the Empire State Building. Each held the title for less than a year, as the Empire State Building surpassed them upon its completion, just 410 days after construction commenced. The building was officially opened on May 1, 1931 in dramatic fashion, when United States President Herbert Hoover turned on the building’s lights with the push of a button from Washington, D.C. Ironically, the first use of tower lights atop the Empire State Building, the following year, was for the purpose of signalling the victory of Franklin D. Roosevelt over Hoover in the presidential election of November 1932.

The building’s distinctive Art Deco spire was originally designed to be a mooring mast and depot for dirigibles. The 102nd floor was originally a landing platform with a dirigible gangplank. A particular elevator, traveling between the 86th and 102nd floors, was supposed to transport passengers after they checked in at the observation deck on the 86th floor. However, the idea proved to be impractical and dangerous after a few attempts with airships, due to the powerful updrafts caused by the size of the building itself. A large broadcast tower was added to the top of the spire in 1953.

On Saturday, July 28, 1945, a B-25 Mitchell bomber, piloted in thick fog crashed into the north side of the Empire State Building, between the 79th and 80th floors. The resulting fire was extinguished in 40 minutes. 14 people were killed in the incident. Despite the damage and loss of life, the building was open for business on many floors on the following Monday.

Pictures of the Empire State Building

The Empire State Building
The view of Empire State Building from Top of the Rock – observation deck atop GE building in Rockefeller Center.

The Empire State Building
The lights of Empire State Building and Chrysler Building. The view from Queensborough Bridge.

The Empire State Building
The Empire State Building and the GE Building at night.

The Empire State Building

The Empire State Building in blue and green colors on the occasion of 110th Anniversary of the National Council of Jewish Women. The view from the 64th floor of the GE Building.

The Empire State Building
The view on the Empire State Building from the Rainbow Grill located on the 65th floor of the GE Building in Rockefeller Center. On the right – the World Trade Center. 31 December 2000.

The Empire State Building
The spire of the Empire State Building. The view from the 86th floor observatory.

The Empire State Building
The lobby of the Empire State Building.

The Empire State Building

The view of the Empire State Building from the World Trade Center Observatory. 12 October 2000.

The Empire State Building
The view from Riverplace. From left to right: Empire State Building, the Nelson Tower, the One Penn Plaza, the New Yorker Hotel.

The Empire State Building
The view of Empire State Building from across Hudson River, from Lincoln Harbor.

The Empire State Building
The 5th Avenue entrance to Empire State Building.