The Empire State Building is much more than just a tourist attraction. It is a piece of New York history, a colorful beacon in Manhattan’s night-time skyline, and a destination for breathtaking views and romantic encounters. How much do you know about the Empire State Building, New York’s most famous skyscraper?
Great Heights: The Empire State Building became the world’s tallest skyscraper in 1931. At 102 stories and 1,454 feet tall, it bested the Chrysler Building by only four hundred feet. As of 2005, the Empire State Building is the 9th tallest building in the world. Number one is Taipei’s Taipei 101 at over 1,600 feet.
Blimp Parking : The building is topped by a mooring mast for dirigibles, which were the latest trend in air travel in 1931. However, only one blimp ever docked at the Empire State Building, on September 16, 1931, before the idea was abandoned because it was too dangerous.
Tragedy in 1945: On July 28, 1945, the Empire State Building was the site of a tragedy when a small plane crashed into the 79th floor on the 34th St. side of the building. The pilot of the plane, his two passengers, and eleven people inside the building were killed.
Famous Visitors: More than 110 million people have visited the Empire State Building’s famous Observatory since the building opened in 1931. Famous visitors have included Queen Elizabeth, Fidel Castro, the rock band KISS, Ronald McDonald, Lassie, and Tom Cruise.
Webcam with a View: You can check out the view from the top of the Empire State Building from the comfort of your own apartment. Visit the ESB TowerCams™ to see live video or images from cameras positioned at the top of the building. View a panorama of the city or zoom in on views of landmarks like the Statue of Liberty or the Brooklyn Bridge.
Bright Lights, Big City: The Empire State Building puts on quite a show with colored light displays throughout the year to mark holidays and other events. The first light to shine from the top of the Empire State Building was a searchlight beacon that announced to the city that Franklin D. Roosevelt had been elected president in 1932. In 1964, the top 30 floors were illuminated by new floodlights designed to transform the building into a nighttime attraction for the World’s Fair. These days, the Empire State Building shines a rainbow of colors – green for St. Patrick’s day, pink and white for breast cancer awareness, lavender for the anniversary of Stonewall. See a schedule of upcoming light themes.
Movie Star: The Empire State Building’s most memorable movie role was as King Kong’s plaything in 1933’s King Kong. The Empire State Building also played a romantic lead in An Affair to Remember (and its remake) and Sleepless in Seattle.
The building has been in many other films, including classics like Annie Hall, North by Northwest, On the Waterfront, Taxi Driver, and others.
Race to the Top: The Empire State Run-Up has been an annual tradition since 1978. Every year, runners race up the 1,576 stairs to the 86th floor. The record time of 9 minutes and 33 seconds was set in 2003. See photos of the Empire State Building Run-Up.
Get Married at 1,000 Feet: Every Valentine’s Day, couples get married on the 80th floor of the Building and join the Empire State Building Wedding Club, which entitles them to free admission to the Observatories every Valentine's Day. To have your wedding at the top of the Empire State Building, you must submit an application detailing why you want to get married there. Couples are chosen on the basis of originality and style. See photos of an Empire State Building Valentine's Day Wedding.