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Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is a 102-story Art Deco skyscraper in New York City at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street.
NY, New York, USA
Modern Wonders of the World
Dated Started: 1/22/1930
Date Finished: 5/31/1931
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
U.S. National Historic Landmark
 
7 Modern Wonders of the World
Empire State Building [1]

 

The Empire State Building is a 102-story Art Deco skyscraper in New York City at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street. Its name is derived from the nickname for the state of New York. It stood as the world's tallest building for more than forty years, from its completion in 1931 until construction of the World Trade Center's North Tower was completed in 1972. Following the destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001, the Empire State Building once again became the tallest building in New York City and New York State.

The Empire State Building has been named by the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. The building and its street floor interior are designated landmarks of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, and confirmed by the New York City Board of Estimate. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1986. In 2007, it was ranked number one on the List of America's Favorite Architecture according to the AIA. The building is owned and managed by W&H Properties.

The Empire State Building is the second tallest skyscraper in the Americas (surpassed only by Chicago's Willis Tower) and the 11th tallest in the world. It is also the 4th tallest freestanding structure in the Americas.

History
The present site of the Empire State Building was first developed as the John Thomson Farm in the late 18th century. At the time, a stream ran across the site, emptying into Sunfish Pond, located a block away. The block was occupied by the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in the late 19th century, and was frequented by The Four Hundred, the social elite of New York.


Design and construction
The Empire State Building was designed by Gregory Johnson and his architectural firm Shreve, Lamb and Harmon, which produced the building drawings in just two weeks, using its earlier designs, for the Reynolds Building in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and the Carew Tower in Cincinnati, Ohio, as a basis. The building was actually designed from the top down. The general contractors were The Starrett Brothers and Eken, and the project was financed primarily by John J. Raskob and Pierre S. du Pont. The construction company was chaired by Alfred E. Smith, a former Governor of New York.


A worker bolts beams during construction; the Chrysler Building can be seen in the background.Excavation of the site began on January 22, 1930, and construction on the building itself started symbolically on March 17—St.Patrick's Day—per Al Smith's influence as Empire State, Inc. president. The project involved 3,400 workers, mostly immigrants from Europe, along with hundreds of Mohawk iron workers, many from the Kahnawake reserve near Montreal. According to official accounts, five workers died during the construction. Governor Smith's grandchildren cut the ribbon on May 1, 1931. Lewis Wickes Hine's photography of the construction provides not only invaluable documentation of the construction, but also a glimpse into common day life of workers in that era. In particular the photo of a worker climbing a stay cable is talismanic of the era and the building itself.

The construction was part of an intense competition in New York for the title of the world's tallest building. Two other projects fighting for the title, 40 Wall Street and the Chrysler Building, were still under construction when work began on the Empire State Building. Each held the title for less than a year, as the Empire State Building surpassed them upon its completion, just 410 days after construction commenced. The building was officially opened on May 1, 1931 in dramatic fashion, when United States President Herbert Hoover turned on the building's lights with the push of a button from Washington, D.C. Ironically, the first use of tower lights atop the Empire State Building, the following year, was for the purpose of signalling the victory of Franklin D. Roosevelt over Hoover in the presidential election of November 1932.


Opening
The building's opening coincided with the Great Depression in the United States, and as a result much of its office space went unrented. The building's vacancy was exacerbated by its poor location on 34th Street, which placed it relatively far from public transportation, as Grand Central Terminal, the Port Authority Bus Terminal, and Penn Station are all several blocks away. Other more successful skyscrapers, such as the Chrysler Building, do not have this problem. In its first year of operation, the observation deck took in approximately 2 million dollars, as much money as its owners made in rent that year. The lack of renters led New Yorkers to deride the building as the "Empty State Building". The building would not become profitable until 1950. The famous 1951 sale of The Empire State Building to Roger L. Stevens and his business partners was brokered by the prominent upper Manhattan real-estate firm Charles F. Noyes & Company for a record $51 million. At the time, that was the highest price ever paid for a single structure in real-estate history.


Dirigible (airship) terminal
The building's distinctive Art Deco spire was originally designed to be a mooring mast and depot for dirigibles. The 102nd floor was originally a landing platform with a dirigible gangplank. A particular elevator, traveling between the 86th and 103rd floors, was supposed to transport passengers after they checked in at the observation deck on the 86th floor. However, the idea proved to be impractical and dangerous after a few attempts with airships, due to the powerful updrafts caused by the size of the building itself. A large broadcast tower was added to the top of the spire in 1953.


1945 plane crash

Crash by a U.S. Army B-25 bomber on July 28, 1945At 9:40 a.m. on Saturday, July 28, 1945, a B-25 Mitchell bomber, piloted in thick fog by Lieutenant Colonel William Franklin Smith, Jr., crashed into the north side of the Empire State Building, between the 79th and 80th floors, where the offices of the National Catholic Welfare Council were located. One engine shot through the side opposite the impact and flew as far as the next block where it landed on the roof of a nearby building, starting a fire that destroyed a penthouse. The other engine and part of the landing gear plummeted down an elevator shaft. The resulting fire was extinguished in 40 minutes. 14 people were killed in the incident. Elevator operator Betty Lou Oliver survived a plunge of 75 stories inside an elevator, which still stands as the Guinness World Record for the longest survived elevator fall recorded. Despite the damage and loss of life, the building was open for business on many floors on the following Monday. The crash helped spur the passage of the long-pending Federal Tort Claims Act of 1946, as well as the insertion of retroactive provisions into the law, allowing people to sue the government for the accident.

Architecture
Empire State Building


Street level view of the Empire State BuildingThe Empire State Building rises to 1,250 ft (381 m) at the 103rd floor, and including the 203 ft (62 m) pinnacle, its full height reaches 1,453 ft–89/16 in (443.09 m). The building has 85 stories of commercial and office space representing 2,158,000 sq ft (200,500 m2). It has an indoor and outdoor observation deck on the 86th floor. The remaining 16 stories represent the Art Deco tower, which is capped by a 102rd-floor observatory. Atop the tower is the 203 ft (62 m) pinnacle, much of which is covered by broadcast antennas, with a lightning rod at the very top.

The Empire State Building was the first building to have more than 100 floors. It has 6,500 windows and 73 elevators, and there are 1,860 steps from street level to the 103rd floor. It has a total floor area of 2,768,591 sq ft (257,211 m2); the base of the Empire State Building is about 2 acres (8,094 m2). The building houses 1,000 businesses, and has its own zip code, 10118. As of 2007, approximately 21,000 employees work in the building each day, making the Empire State Building the second-largest single office complex in America, after the Pentagon. The building was completed in one year and 45 days. Its original 64 elevators are located in a central core; today, the Empire State Building has 73 elevators in all, including service elevators. It takes less than one minute by elevator to get to the 86th floor, where an observation deck is located. The building has 70 mi (113 km) of pipe, 2,500,000 ft (760,000 m) of electrical wire,[31] and about 9,000 faucets.[citation needed] It is heated by low-pressure steam; despite its height, the building only requires between 2 and 3 psi (14 and 21 kPa) of steam pressure for heating. It weighs approximately 370,000 short tons (340,000 t). The exterior of the building was built using Indiana limestone panels.

The Empire State Building cost $40,948,900 to build.


A series of setbacks causes the building to taper with height.Unlike most of today's skyscrapers, the Empire State Building features an art deco design, typical of pre-World War II architecture in New York. The modernistic stainless steel canopies of the entrances on 33rd and 34th Streets lead to two story-high corridors around the elevator core, crossed by stainless steel and glass-enclosed bridges at the second-floor level. The elevator core contains 67 elevators.

The lobby is three stories high and features an aluminum relief of the skyscraper without the antenna, which was not added to the spire until 1952. The north corridor contains eight illuminated panels, created by Roy Sparkia and Renée Nemorov in 1963, depicting the building as the Eighth Wonder of the World, alongside the traditional seven.

Long-term forecasting of the life cycle of the structure was implemented at the design phase to ensure that the building's future intended uses were not restricted by the requirements of previous generations. This is particularly evident in the over-design of the building's electrical system.[2]

Archive footage from the building of Empire State Building.

 

perskram
October 24, 2007

 

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References
 
1. Flickr- Empire State Building-Creative Commons Attribution License-retrieved 7/20/2009
2. Wikipedia-Empire State Building-retrieved 7/20/2009 
 
 
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