New York’s tallest building is the Empire Sate Building, which stands on Fifth Avenue, New York, between 33rd Street and 34th Street. It was built on the site of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and took 410 days at a rate of 4 ½ floors a week to complete. The building was opened on 1 May 1931 by remote control, when President Herbert Hoover pressed a button in Washington DC.
The Empire State Building towers 381m above ground-and measures 443.2m to the top of the TV tower. A further 16.7m is below ground. The spire on top was designed as an airship mooring mast, but after a German airship, the Hindenburg, burned at its mooring mast in New Jersey in 1937, the mast was never used. For more than 40 years, the Empire State held the record as the world’s tallest office of apartment building, until the twin towers of the World Trade Center were completed. Since their destruction in 2001, it is once again New York’s tallest. More than 2.5 million tourists a year go up to the observatories on the 86th and 102nd floors. On a clear day you can see 129km from the 102nd floor.
• The workforce – 3,400 at its peak – took a total of seven million man – hours to complete the Empire State Building.
• The cost was $40,948,900 including the land (the building cost only $24,718,000).
• The building’s weight is 331,122 tonnes. This includes a 54,431-tonne steel frame, 10 million bricks faced in limestone and 662 tonnes of aluminium and stainless steel.
• The Empire State is served by 73 lifts and contains 3,194,547 light bulbs, 80km of radiator pipes and 113km of water pipes.
• The lightning conductor was struck 68 times in the building’s first ten years.
• In 2003 Australian runner Paul Crake broke his own record for racing up the 1575 steps to the 86th floor in 9 minutes 33 seconds.
• On 28 July 1945, a B-25 bomber cashed in fog between the building’s 78th and 79th floors, killing the pilot and 13 other people. It happened on a Saturday so most offices were empty, or the casualties would have been higher.
• The building’s coloured lights are changed for seasonal celebrations. They are red, white and blue on Independence Day and green on St Patrick’s Day. The lights are turned off when birds are migrating to avoid confusing them.
• On St Valentine’s Day, couples can marry on the 80th floor.