Manhattan’s Tallest Building is a Timeless Big Apple Attraction
Rising from bedrock below New York City to the tip of its lightning rod, 1454 feet above the streets of Manhattan, every inch of the Empire State Building is loved and admired by both New York residents and the 110 million people who’ve visited its 86th-floor observation deck. The history of the skyscraping landmark is as colorful as it’s art deco lobby or the lights that illuminate its upper reaches.
One of the most recognizable buildings in the New York City skyline is unarguably the famous Empire State Building. Built in 1930 and towering 102 stories tall, the Empire State Building is 37 million cubic feet with a site area of 83,860 square feet. It was designed by Shreve, Lam& Harmon Associates, and built by Starret Brothers & Eken, Inc. at a total cost of $40,948,900. Millions of tourists take the trip up the 86th-floor observatory each year, offering the most spectacular and affordable views of New York City that most can afford.
The building is located at 350 Fifth Avenue, between 33rd and 34th Streets, and had previously been the tallest building in New York until the first twin tower was built at the World Trade Center site. Whether you want to just drive by the Empire State Building to appreciate its amazing architecture or if you are planning on traveling up to the 86th floor, one of our cheap car rentals will get you there on your own time and in style!
As it’s 70th birthday nears, the art deco skyscraper remains the icon of the New York skyline. From H.G. Wells to King Kong, the attraction of E.S.B. endures.
What to See and Do in the Empire State Building
The Empire State Building has two observation decks. One is on the 86th floor which has both a glass-enclosed climate-controlled area and spacious outdoor promenades on all four sides of the building which is 1,050 feet high complete with high-powered binoculars for amazing views of New York City.
The second observation deck is located on the 102nd floor. Both observation decks are open 365 days a year from 8 am to 2 am with the last elevator up leaving at 1:15 am.
The Empire State Building is one of the most famous buildings in the world and was the tallest building in the world from the time it was built in 1932 until 1972 when the World Trade Center was completed. The Empire State Building, which is located at 350 Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street, is the tallest building in New York City at 1,250 feet in height with 102 floors. Tourists and visitors to New York looking for what to see and things to do in the city will not be disappointed with a visit to the Empire State Building.
Empire State Building History
Unhappy that rival Walter Chrysler had just built the world’s tallest building, General Motors creator John Jacob Raskob went to architect William Lamb with the request that he surpass the Chrysler Building.
The two requirements specified were that the building look like a pencil and that it tower above any other structure on earth. With a peak work force of 3,000 men, the 102-story Empire State Building took only 14 months to complete and contains 10 million bricks and 5 acres of windows.
After it was finished, the building had so few tenants that it was called the “Empty State Building.” Today the Empire State Building is one of the most exclusive locations to lease. It was the world’s tallest building until 1972 when it was eclipsed by the former World Trade Center. It is currently the tallest building in New York City.
Historical Dates for a New York Attraction
- 1930 – Construction begins on March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day. 410 days later, the building was open for business
- 1933 – At the tender age of two, the building’s demise is predicted. In his science fiction book, The Shape of Things to Come, H.G. Wells predicts the demolition of the building in the year 2106.
- 1945 – On July 28th, a B-25 Mitchell bomber crashes into the building between the 79th and 80th floors. 14 people are killed.
- 1951 – The building is sold for $51,000,000. It was the highest price paid for a single real estate structure, at that time.
- 1964 – Floodlights are added to illuminate the top of the building. Different colors are used to commemorate various events.
- 1973 – The north tower of the World Trade Center passes the building in height. This ended the Empire State Building’s 42-year reign as the world’s tallest building.
- 1978 – First annual Empire State Building Run-up is held. Runners race up the stairs from ground level to the 86th-floor observation deck.
A Landmark at 350 5th Avenue, New York City
In spite of the onset of the Great Depression, the construction of the building coincided with the erection of a pair of other New York skyscrapers, The Chrysler Building and 40 Wall Street. It seemed that New York City was trying to hold its own race to the heavens, despite the economy. Each of these structures was involved in a competition to see which building would be the tallest. The exact height planned for each building was a closely guarded secret. Upon its completion, 40 Wall Street became the highest building on Earth but was later passed by the Chrysler. Of course, the Empire State Building passed them both when it held its ribbon cutting on May 1, 1931.
- Built from 1930 to 1931
- Constructed of concrete, steel, and brick, with limestone and granite on the exterior
- Height: 1472 ft to the pinnacle, 1250 ft to the top of the structure
- Height Records: Tallest building in the world at completion, currently the tallest building in New York City
- Number of Floors: 102
- Architect: William Lamb
- Style: Art Deco
An Attraction for New York and the World
There’s an old saying about the best-laid plans of mice and men, and the Empire State Building has not been immune. The original plans called for the top of the tower to serve as a mooring mast for dirigibles, which were commonly used at the time. This plan didn’t catch on, and it’s easy to see why. First, the size and shape of the tower caused updrafts, which made docking a dangerous endeavor. In addition to this, the prospect of airship passengers exiting their floating craft, traveling down a gangplank to the top of a building almost a quarter-mile high failed to generate much enthusiasm.
Perhaps the most eventful day that any individual person has ever had at the building happened on that fateful July 28, 1945. When the building was hit by the wayward plane, elevator operator Betty Lou Oliver was working near the impact site and was badly burned. Rescue workers decided that she needed immediate medical attention and sent her toward the lobby in an elevator. The elevator cables had been weakened by the fire, and poor Betty Lou hurtled 75 floors down the elevator shaft. Incredibly, she survived this too and returned to work 5 months later. Her free-fall survival remains a world record.
In the past seven decades, architects and engineers have designed and built buildings that are taller, more modern, and more energy-efficient. However, none of these structures, no matter how grand, can compare with New York Cities Empire State Building. They don’t make ’em like that anymore.
Ticket costs are as follows
- Adult – $18.45
- Child – $12.95 (12 and under
- Senior – $16.61
Tax not included and tickets to the 102nd-floor observation deck are an additional $15. Empire State Building Express Passes are also available for $41.52 and purchasers of the pass go to the front of the elevator line. For more info call 212-947-1360.
Also in the building near the top is New York SKYRIDE which is a simulated helicopter ride and a virtual-reality movie theater that will thrill both kids and adults. In addition to the New York SKYRIDE the Empire State Building contains two restaurants, a sushi bar, three coffee shops, a drug store, a post office, and two banks.
Over 110 million tourists have visited the Empire State Building observation decks and some 3.5 million visitors a year ride the elevators up to the 86th floor.
Anyone wondering what to see and do in New York City will love a visit to the tallest building in New York the Empire State Building and its fantastic observations decks