New York City Guide

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Empire State Building

Along with the Statue of Liberty, The Empire State Building is New York's most famous landmark. Its 86th floor observatory remains a hugely popular vantage point for throngs of tourists to view Manhattan. Located at 350 Fifth Avenue, between 33rd and 34th Streets, the Empire State Building was planned during the booming 1920's, and constructed during the Great Depression. Due to this unfortunate timing, It stood largely vacant in its early years, and gained the nickname of the "Empty State Building". It had to rely on the stream of sightseers to the observation decks to help pay its taxes.  Excavation of the site began on January 22, 1930, and construction on the building itself started on March 17th. The project was hurried to completion in order to take the title of "world's tallest building" from the Chrysler Building.

Empire State Building 1The Empire State Building was constructed using the most up to date technology of the time, with a substantial concrete foundation on which was assembled a framework of steel sections. Designed by architects, Shreve, Lamb and Harmon Associates and constructed by builders, Starrett Brothers and Eken. The steel sections were manufactured off site, then transported into position for assembly. Once assembled, the building was given an outer layer of stone. On completion, the Empire State Building became the worlds tallest man made structure, a claim to fame that it would hold for the next 23 years, after which it remained the worlds tallest skyscraper for the next 18 years. On the 1st of May 1931, the Empire State Building was officially opened by the then President of the United States, Herbert Hoover. while remaining in Washington D.C. he pushed a button which turned on the lights throughout the building. Originally constructed with 64 elevators, this number has been increased to 73 to ease the distribution of people. Since the disaster of World Trade Centre, the Empire State Building again became the tallest building in New York.

Enter the Empire State Building and you will find yourself in the three story Art Deco lobby. Lined with marble imported from Europe, it has as its centrepiece a large mosaic featuring the building as the centre of the universe.

On the 86th floor is an open air observatory with incredible views. To the north can be seen the Chrysler and Met Life Buildings, and on a clear day you can see as far as the states of Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Empire State Building 2 Empire State Building 3

To the west, past the World War II aircraft carrier Intrepid you can see across the Hudson to New Jersey. Looking south over the Flatiron Building to the elegant Woolworth Building, onto the soaring Wall Street structures. To the right in upper New York bay stands the Statue of Liberty and close by Ellis Island. Eastward lies the Borough of Queens and the Citicorp building.

Empire State Building 4 View from Empire State Building