New York Attractions: Empire State Building
It’s been the world’s tallest structure, the world’s tallest building, and – more than once – the tallest building in New York City. It towers at over 100 stories, totals almost 1,500 feet in height, and rises up, stark and solid, out of Midtown Manhattan.
A Many-Storied Monument
The Empire State Building – affectionately named after its home state – is an immutable presence and a treasured architectural and cultural monument. For almost 40 years it reigned as the world’s tallest building, from its completion in 1931 to the rise of its successor – the North Tower of the original World Trade Center.
Between 2001 and 2012 it stood again as the tallest building in New York. And even now, since One World Trade Center’s completion, it remains the United States’ fourth-tallest completed skyscraper.
Its overwhelming presence, however, isn’t even close to its greatest claim to fame. The Art Deco spired’ structure has stood – and will remain to stand – just as tall in the American Mind as it does on Fifth Avenue.
Icon of a Culture
The American Society of Civil Engineers named the Empire State Building one of the “Seven Wonders of The Modern World”. Its famed history, towering presence, and distinctive Art Deco style have led generations of individuals to regard it as an American Cultural Icon, and its street floor (as well as the building itself) are official New York landmarks as per the City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission.
It’s been a national Historic landmark since 1986, and it’s headed the list as America’s favorite Architectural structure since 2007. The building itself is owned by the Empire State Realty Trust, and boats a gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) title since the completion of a $550 million renovation project in 2011.
Film and Literature
The Empire State Building has appeared in countless series’, films and works of literature throughout the decades. The most famous is probably the climactic scene in the timeless drama King Kong – wherein a giant Ape holds fast to the building’s spire while being attacked by planes.
From Modern Literary masters like H.G. Wells to contemporary writers like Michael Chabon – the Empire State Building has been used as a plot device, a setting for romance, and a singular symbol of the American Spirit.
Construction and Opening
Designed in Art Deco style by William F. Lamb, and funded in large part by John Raskob and Pierre du Pont – the Empire State Building’s construction began on March 17th, 1930. It took over 3,400 workers to get the colossal job done, and just over a year later – on May 1st, 1931 – the ribbon was cut and the building officially opened for business.
The Empire State Building’s official opening coincided with The Great Depression – which kept most of its office space unrented for a time. The Building wasn’t to become altogether profitable until 1950, just before it was sold to Roger Stevens for a record price-tag of some $51 million.
People come from everywhere just to see the legendary structure and appreciate its unique and novel features. The observation decks are, of course, a top spot for travelers, but you may as well appreciate its many colored light shows and cultural and seasonal presentations.
The top of the building is famous for signifying cultural, political and social events with light demonstrations or prop-fixtures, and it’s more exclusive areas top the bucket lists of celebrities and powerful personalities nationwide.
As a modern marvel and an American Cultural emblem, the Empire State Building has influenced artwork, shaped stories, and been the venue for life-changing moments ever since its inception.
Get a glimpse into America’s heritage. Book your tour today!