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Empire State Building

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Empire State Building


Structure in General

existing [completed]
rigid frame
curtain wall
light brown
art deco


commercial office
shop(s) service branch(es) restaurant observation


  • Tallest building in the world from 1931-1972; surpassed by One World Trade Center. Tallest structure in the world from 1931-1954; surpassed by KWTV Transmitter
  • Regained city's tallest title after September 11, 2001 until the new One World Trade Center was topped out in 2012.
  • Built in 1930 to be the tallest structure on earth, the Empire State Building was then considered the largest commercial venture and investment ever.
  • The Empire State Building was constructed on the site of the former Astoria Hotel.
  • Excavation began on January 22, 1930 with actual construction on March 17, 1930. Construction took just over 18 months.
  • Cornerstone was laid on September 17, 1930 by former New York governor Alfred E. Smith.
  • The tower was one of the first to employ the then new fast-track construction technique. Framework rose at the rate of 4 1/2 floors per week.
  • The masonry was completed on November 13, 1930.
  • During construction of the steel frame, eating facilities were set up on appropriate floors to cater for the workers.
  • During planning stages the construction death toll was estimated to be one worker per floor, or over 100 workers overall. However, only a handful of workers lost their lives during construction.
  • The building was completed about a month and a half ahead of schedule and about $5 million under budget.
  • President Herbert Hoover officially opened the building on May 1, 1931 by pressing a button from The White House that turned on the building's lights.
  • Soon after opening it became a major tourist attraction, attracting many famous people, including the French Prime Minister, Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, Pope Pius XII, Fidel Castro and Queen Elisabeth II, to name a few. The only one known to have refused Alfred E. Smith's invitation was Walter P. Chrysler.
  • The lobby is a five-story Art Deco masterpiece crafted in rich granite and marble, and highlighted by brushed stainless steel.
  • Decorated with enormous bronze medallions celebrating the craftsmen responsible for the building, and a metal mosaic featuring the building as the center of the universe, the lobby is without peer.
  • The building incorporates 10 million bricks, 1,172 miles (1,886 kilometers) of elevator cables, 6,400 windows, and weighs 331,000 tons.
  • Constructed with 60,000 tons of structural steel.
  • The façade is composed of more than 200,000 cubic feet of Indiana limestone and granite, and utilizes several setbacks to offset the optical distortion of its 102-story height.
  • There are 1,575 steps from the lobby to the 86th floor.
  • Houses over 1,000 businesses with its own zip code.
  • Initially the building was intended to have a flat roof until a "hat" or metal-plated tower on top of the building was designed. It initially served double duty as a zeppelin mooring mast and an observatory.
  • The metal-plated tower on top of the building was planned as a zeppelin port. Yet it was used for only one zeppelin landing because the winds were too strong at such heights making mooring dangerous and also because the golden age of zeppelins was quickly slipping into the past.
  • On a Saturday morning in July 1945, a US B-25 Bomber crashed into the 79th floor offices of the Catholic War Relief Services. Fourteen people died. Despite suffering some fire damage and a 20-foot gash, the Empire State building opened back up for business on Monday.
  • A broadcasting antenna was added to the building in 1951 putting the almost vacant metallic tower at the top to use as a storage area for broadcasting equipment.
  • An international icon, more than 3.5 million people visit the observatory every year to take in the 80-mile view into New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.
  • As a popular symbol of the city and its spirit, the building is a common focal point in the visual arts, television, and film.
  • Declared a landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission on May 18, 1981.
  • Listed on State and National Register of Historic Places on December 20, 1982.
  • Declared a National Historic Landmark on October 23, 1986.
  • The Empire State Building is a legend. Built in the midst of the Depression, it was, and still remains a testament to American fortitude and ingenuity.
  • The Empire State Building is a member of the World Federation of Great Towers.
  • As part of the commemoration of the American Institute of Architects' 150th anniversary in 2007, the organization announced the list of the 150 highest-ranked structures as "America's Favorite Architecture". The Empire State Building was ranked first on this list. Start here to make a tour of "America's Favorite Architecture" in order. The next building on the list is The White House.

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More Information


338-350 5th Avenue
1-31 West 33rd Street, 2-20 West 34th Street
350 5th Avenue
Midtown South
New York City
New York

Technical Data

1,454.16 ft
1,250.02 ft
1,250.02 ft
1,224.01 ft
1,050.01 ft
1,224.01 ft
424.01 ft
187.00 ft

Involved Companies


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Features & Amenities

  • One of the city's famous buildings
  • City landmark
  • National landmark
  • Observation deck on roof
  • Observation floor is available
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