For 75 years, the Empire State has stood as one of the best-known and iconic buildings in the world. A prominent fixture of the New York City skyline, the Empire State Building was the tallest building in the world for over forty years. During the early Twentieth Century, there was a rush many American cities to build up instead out. As large cities like New York and Chicago grew, land that could be developed started to become scare. As a result, skyscrapers were seen as the answer to problem of accommodating a growing urban population.
There was a not-so-subtle competition among New York City architects and developers for the title of the world’s tallest building. The idea for the Empire State Building was viewed by some as a response to the construction of another New York icon. The Chrysler Building was nearly complete by the time ground was broken for the Empire State Building. Though the 1047 foot tall Chrysler Building was completed first, it held the title as the world’s tallest building for less than a year. Both buildings are still regarded as masterpieces of Art Deco design.
Built as the Great Depression gripped the country, constructing the Empire State Building required a tremendous amount of manual labor. At a time when jobs were scarce and millions of people were falling on hard times, construction of the Empire State Building employed as many as 3400 workers.
Named for the Empire State of New York, the Empire State Building enjoys a reputation as one of the most recognizable buildings in the world. The 102 story structure is regarded by many people as a wonder of the modern world. Its exterior is a combination of granite, aluminum, steel and glass that rises over 1400 feet above the hustle and bustle of Midtown Manhattan.
During the 1930s, before the age of airplane travel, great airships, or dirigibles, were seen as an efficient way to travel. In response to this trend, the original design for the Empire State Building included a docking terminal near the top of the building. The terminal was never built primarily because these great airships were difficult to maneuver even at ground level. At 1400 feet, weathers conditions were thought to make docking too difficult.
The Empire State Building features two observation decks, on the 86th floor and another on the 102nd floor. The lower observation provides visitors with a stunning panoramic view of New York City. The observation decks are so popular that for 20 years, visitors contributed more to the buildings revenue than the rent paid by tenants. New York City panoramic pictures, especially those using photographs taken from the Empire State Building are very popular.
The 1933 cult classic King Kong prominently featured the Empire State Building and the great beasts quest to find his beauty portrayed by the actress Fay Ray. In a classic tale of beauty and the beast, Kong scales the building looking for his beauty and upon reaching the top, falls 102 stories to his death. The building has been used as a backdrop for many other popular films.
A tragic accident in 1945 tested the strength of the building. Dense fog was blamed for the crash of an Army Air Corp Mitchell B25 bomber into the side of the building. The plane crashed between the 79th and 80th floors and even though 14 people were lost their lives, damage to the building was relatively minor.