New York Architecture Info

The Empire State Buidling

350 Fifth Avenue
New York 10118
Basic Information
Designed by Shreve, Lamb & Harmon Associates
Cost $40,948,900
Type Skyscraper
Floors: 102
Maximum height 1,472 feet/442 meters
Neighborhood: Midtown
More Information
  • Height to top floor: 1,224 feet
  • Height to roof: 1,250 feet
  • Height to the tip of the spire: 1,472 feet
  • Weight: 365,000 tons.
  • Floor space: 2,768,591 square feet
  • Architect: Gregory Johnson
  • Under certain circumstances, sticking your hand outside the observation level fence will cause a buildup of static electricity known as "Saint Elmo's Fire" to stream from your fingertips. This same phenomenon sometimes causes a shock when lovers kiss on the observatory level.
  • Empty, the Empire State Building can hold 37,000,000 cubic feet of water.
  • The building is illuminated with 204 floodlights on the 72nd and 81st floors, plus fluorescent lights on the spire.
  • It can take up to six hours for four electricians to change the lighting scheme that illuminates the top of the building by hand. The electricians don't have to change the fluorescent portion of lights by hand unless the desired color is orange.
  • The lighting on the Empire State Building can change every few days for hundreds of reasons, including Christmas, Hanukkah, Autumn, Independence Day, cold weather, Betty Boop's birthday, the release of a Pink Floyd album, circuses, the sale of Microsoft Windows 95, local sporting championships, and Olympic victories.
  • The building has 6,500 windows, 50 miles of radiator pipe, 1,060 miles of telephone lines, and 2,500,000 feet of electrical conduit. The exterior is faced with 200,000 cubic feet of Indiana limestone, and 10,000 square feet of Rose Famosa and Estrallante marble.
  • The following have admired the view from the Empire State Building's observation deck: Queen Elizabeth, Fidel Castro, Nikita Krushchev, and Lassie. Not all on the same occasion.
  • September 17, 1930: The cornerstone is cemented into place by Alfred E. Smith with a silver trowel.
  • May 1, 1931: The Empire State Building opens to the public.
  • 1932: The Empire State Building activates its first light display. A searchlight was illuminated to signal that Franklin Delano Roosevelt won the presidential election.
  • 1945: A U.S. Army B-25 bomber crashed into the 79th floor of the Empire State building causing $1,000,000.00 damage.
  • 1976: The Empire State Building's decorative lights are colored for the first time. They are changed to red, white, and blue for the nation's bicentennial.
  • May, 1981: The cornerstone is expanded in a ceremony marking the building's 50th anniversary.
  • February 7, 2001: 24-year-old Paul Crake of Australia wins the 24th Annual Fleet Empire State Building Run-up by sprinting up the building's 1,576 stairs in nine minutes, 37 seconds beating the other 123 contestants. The oldest runner is an 89-year-old man from Italy who makes it in 35 minutes, five seconds.
  • May 1, 2001: To celebrate its 70th birthday, the skyscraper is illuminated in white lights as it was on May 1, 1931.
  • June, 2001: The American Society of Civil Engineers has named several structures "Monuments of the Millennium." Included on the list are the Panama Canal, the Empire State Building, and the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • September 11, 2001: The Empire State Building once again becomes the tallest building in New York City.
  • March, 2002: The Empire State Building is sold for US$57,000,000.00.
  • May, 2008: Empire State Building guards are given formal uniforms designed by Jennifer L. Busch. The suits are inspired by the art deco motifs of the building. The jackets are officially "Empire State burgundy." Previously they just wore pants and polo shirts.
  • June, 2010: The Empire State Building becomes embroiled in a controversy over its policy of not lighting up its spire for certain groups. According to a spokesman, "We do not accommodate requests for religious figures or requests by religions and religious organizations.” The controversy started when the Catholic League requested the building be illuminated in blue and white on August 26, 2010 to honor the 100th anniversary of the birth of Mother Theresa. The ESB refused to honor the Nobel Peace Prize-winning humanitarian, however it had no problem lighting the building to celebrate the Communist Revolution in China, which started with the slaughter of 77,000,000 innocent men, women, and children.