Empire State Building is one of the most prominent landmarks not only in New York City but also in the entire United States. It has become a symbol of how great America is with its unique design and incredible ingenuity. It was once the world’s tallest building in the world with 102 floors and had stayed that way for nearly half a century.
Here are some of the interesting reasons why this iconic skyscraper has been a favorite tourist destination for both local and international visitors.
Empire State Building Facts
1. For 41 years, Empire State Building was the tallest skyscraper in the world
America’s economy in the latter part of 1920s was booming, and the New York business tycoons were competing to create the biggest brand. Two huge companies, Chrysler and the World Bank, in Manhattan had a frantic race on building the tallest tower in the city. Unfortunately for these two, any number of floors that they added to their buildings, the Empire State Building’s John J. Raskob added more. The final result was a 1,250‑foot building excluding its 204‑foot antennae, and from May of 1931 up until the World Trade Center was built in 1970, it was the tallest building in the world, an interesting fact about the Empire State Building.
2. This New York skyscraper was constructed in just about 410 days
The Empire State Building was surprisingly also one of the fastest skyscrapers ever built. The owner, John Jakob Raskob, hired the architect firm of Shreve, Lamb & Harmon to design the building and he tapped Starrett Bros. & Eken to build it. With 3,500 workers, amazing ingenuity, and incredible coordination, they were able to finish it three months ahead of schedule. While the outer part was being built, the plumbing and electricians were installing all the necessary materials inside. It only took them 1 year and 45 days to build it.
3. It has a yearly race-up the stairs contest, the “Empire State Building Run-Up”
Challengers around the world sign up for the annual race of going up to the 86th floor by foot. Runners will have to go through a total of 1,576 stairs to reach the Observatory Deck and the fastest will win a prize, an interesting fact about the Empire State Building. This is a fundraising event to help promote awareness for physically-challenged people.
4. Empire State Building’s Upper Tower was originally designed for Airship Docking Port
The owner, John J. Raskob, was quite convinced that the future way of traveling was through airships that the upper tower of the Empire State Building was designed for them. Unfortunately, the airship pilots had a hard time managing it due to the strong winds on top of the building. Since then, they scrapped the idea.
5. Its Observation Deck is home to over 30 suicide attempts
The observation deck on the 86th floor had seen over 30 suicide attempts since it opened its doors to the public in 1931. The Empire State Building owner installed a fence around it to discourage people from doing it. After a while, they increased the height of the security fence to deter not only suicide attempts but parachute jumpers as well.
6. The Empire State Building was struck by a B-25 plane
While no one can forget the horror seeing the World Trade Center being hit by a plane, it was not the first time it happened in New York. Back in 1945, a B-25 crashed in the north side of the Empire State Building. The only difference is that it was not a terrorist attack and that the building remained intact. The pilot had low visibility due to an intense fog and in his attempt to get a clearer view, he flew a bit lower than his usual, and he ended up killing 13 other people after making a hole inside the building.
7. It is the tallest building in the United States with a Gold LEED Certification
Due to calls for buildings and businesses to seek sustainable energy, the Empire State Building had made the necessary adjustments. The building was retrofitted by installing new lighting, upgrading windows and boilers, and insulating radiators. A fun Empire State Building fact is that, in 2011, it was awarded with the Gold LEED Certification and had saved millions of dollars on energy costs ever since.
8. The Empire State Building was not profitable on its first 20 years
It was a commercial disappointment after it opened in 1931. America was suffering from what the economists called the Great Depression. During the 1930s, only half of the entire building was occupied with tenants most of the time, an interesting Empire State Building fact. The owner did not have a choice but to open the lights in the unoccupied floors just to encourage more businesses to rent space in the building. It only started to break even and become profitable during World War II.
9. Several box office movies featured this well-loved New York building
The imposing unique design of the building has made it a favorite location of American movie productions. The most notable ones were Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr’s “An Affair to Remember,” Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan’s “Sleepless in Seattle,” Will Smith’s “Independence Day,” Christopher Reeve’s “Superman II,” and “King Kong.”
10. Empire State Building change light colors to commemorate or celebrate events
Many people around the world not just Americans or New Yorkers have been anticipating the changing of colors on top of the Empire State Building during holidays or special events. It is quite an uplifting sight even more when an iconic landmark is paying tribute to a well-loved person, a successful team, or just by promoting public awareness on significant issues.
11. The last rivet placed in the steel frame of the building was solid gold
With no sophisticated machineries to support the workers in building the tallest skyscraper in the world that fast was a manifestation of man’s brilliance. To celebrate the completion of the steel frame of the Empire State Building, the last rivet that was inserted to a hole was made of solid gold, a fun Empire State Building fact.
The race for constructing the longest, the biggest, and the fastest is still on, and while this landmark no longer holds the title of the tallest building in the world, the Empire State Building has a certain appeal that makes people want to visit. It has undergone the third phase of its $165 million renovation project and the newly renovated observation deck on the top floor would surely attract more visitors.
I hope that this article on Empire State Building facts was helpful! If you are interested, visit the Important Places Facts!