Empire State Building Facts

The Empire State Building is one of the most photographed buildings in the world. Editorial credit: pisaphotography / Shutterstock.com

The Empire State Building is one of the most famous buildings in the world. It is also one of the most iconic buildings in the United States of America. It is the symbol of New York City. According to a survey conducted in 2007 by the American Institute of Architects, the Empire State Building was “America’s favorite building” and its popularity even surpassed that of the White House. Although today there is a race for taller and better skyscrapers throughout the world, the Empire State Building is still considered one of the most prominent high-rise structures in the world. Here are some of the most interesting facts about the Empire State Building:

Historical Records

Since its construction in 1931, the Empire State Building acclaimed various records under the “First” and “Tallest” category. This journey of pride started with the title of world’s first building to exceed 100 floors. It also held the record of world’s tallest skyscraper in terms of structural height for the longest period of time (1931-1970). Up until 1954, it was the world’s tallest manmade structure. It was also the world’s tallest freestanding man-made structure until 1967. After the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, it again became the tallest building in New York. It is also recognized as the tallest Leadership in Energy & Environment Design certified building in the Northern Hemisphere.

Phenomenal Completion Record

Regardless of its size, the entire project of construction of the Empire State Building was completed in a record 410 days (January 22, 1930 – April 11, 1931).

Copied Design

William Frederick, the architect of the Empire State Building had designed the blueprint of the building based on his previous design of Reynolds Building. It is an interesting fact here that the management of the Empire State Building sends Father’s Day greetings to Reynolds Building every year.

Opening Button

President Herbert Hoover activated the building’s lighting system as the opening ceremony by pressing a button from Washington D.C. around 322 kilometers away from the Empire State Building.

Initial Failure

The Empire State Building became a popular tourist attraction since its opening, but it failed to achieve its primary objective to attract corporate businesses to occupy offices. It even became a laughingstock as people called it an “Empty State Building”. It took 2 decades for it to generate profit for its owners.

Lengthy Cleaning

The first cleaning of the building was conducted in 1962. It took six months for a team of 30 men to complete the task.

Most Photographed Building

According to a research conducted in 2011, the Empire State Building is the most photographed building in the world.

Zip Code

The Empire State Building is home to more than 1000 businesses that highlighted the necessity of a personalized zip code (10118) for the building.

Secret Floor

The Empire State Building is declared to have 102 floors. However, the fact is that it also has another floor (103rd floor) that functions as a private observatory.

Suicide Attempts

Since its inauguration, more than 30 people have attempted suicide by jumping off the building. This includes the suicide of Evelyn McHale, which is famously known as “The Most Beautiful Suicide.” In another incident, a woman named Elvita Adams jumped from the 86th floor of the building, but surprisingly survived by a strong wind, she was rescued with a broken hip from a ledge on the 85th floor of the building.

Plane Crash and Associated World Record

In 1945, a bomber plane accidentally crashed into the building between the 79th and 80th floors resulting in 14 deaths. On the other hand, it is also associated with the surprise survival of Betty Lou Oliver in a plunge of 75 stories in an elevator. This is still a world record as the “Longest survived in elevator fall.”

Peeking At the Neighbors

If weather allows, you can peek around 80 miles through five major states of the United States (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts) from the observatories of the Empire State Building.

Cultural Significance

A large number of movies, TV shows, and books have featured the Empire State Building including King Kong, An Affair to Remember, Sleepless in Seattle, Independence Day, The Amazing Spider-Man, Elf, and Swiss Family Manhattan.


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