If there is a unique building that represents New York City, that is definitely the Empire State Building. Its history is full of curiosities, eccentricities and marvelous feats. Moreover, countless films have been filmed there.
When, How and Why?
This monumental building was built during the economic depression of 1929 and 1930. On 1 May 1931 President Hoover officially turned the lights of the Empire State Building on.
Architect William F. Lamb designed it in a few weeks by order of the founder of General Motors, John Jacob Raskob, with a desire of creating a building that would surpass in height the one built by Chrysler (Chrysler Building – 318.9 m). The total cost of the construction was $ 40,948,900.
The Empire State Building has 102 floors. It became the first building in the world to have more than one hundred floors.
A Few Facts about Empire State Building
• In 1945, at the end of World War II, a B-25 twin-engined US army bomber crashed into the 79th floor of the building. It happened, because of a dense fog and caused fourteen deaths.
• In 1951 the building was sold by John J. Raskob’s heirs for $34 million. Later, in 1954, a Chicago group led by Colonel Henry J. Crown bought the building for $51.5 million.
• In 1978 the first Empire State Building run up was organized with the help of the New York Road Runners Club. Fifteen runners climbed the 1,575 steps from the lobby to the 86th floor. Since then this run has been held annually.
• 14 people have committed suicide from the windows of the building throughout its history.
• Empire State Building has been the tallest building in the world from 1931 to 1972. Today, after the fall of the Twin Towers, it is the third tallest building in New York. After One World Trade Center and 432 Park Avenue.
• On special dates or when an extraordinary event happens to the building is illuminated with different colors. On St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th) the chosen color is green. When the movie «The Simpsons» premiered, the building turned yellow.
Climb to the Empire State Building Observatory
For almost a century the first thing tourists do, when they come to New York, is head of the Empire State Building. You experience one of the strongest emotions in the world, as you move to its viewing platform, about 400 meters above the Fifth Avenue. From there you can see some impressive panoramas: roofs, avenues and secret alleys of the New York metropolitan area. They stretch into the distance and get lost in four different neighboring states.
The New York Pass offers free entrance to the observation deck of the Empire State Building and to 90 more attractions in New York City. When you visit the Empire State Building with the New York Pass, you can also ride the New York Sky ride.
Empire State Building
There are two viewpoints in the Empire State – one on the 86th floor (at 320 meters) and the other one on the 102nd floor. Going to the first viewpoint will cost you $32. In case you want to continue to climb to the second one – you would have to pay additional $20.
Visiting hours start from 8:00 a.m. and the last elevator that climbs at night is at 1:15 a.m.
To avoid big queues, it is better not to climb up between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. and during the sunset. The best time to get up with the least delay is until 10 a.m. and later at 9 p.m.
It is better to buy tickets to the Empire State Building online. This will allow you to avoid the queues at the ticket offices, since you will arrive with the tickets printed.
How to Get There?
You can take the subway to the 34th Street/Penn Station (lines 1, 2, 3, A, C y E) or 34th St – Avenue of the Americas (lines B, D, F, N, Q y R). Or you can hop on the bus (lines M2, M3, M4, M5, M16 and M34).
After visiting the Empire State Building, you can go to the Madison Square Garden, the Chrysler Building, the Madame Tussauds or Times Square. All these attractions are in the heart of New York, just like Empire State.