How Tall is the Empire State Building?

The Empire State building is a high-rise building in Manhattan, New York.

The Empire State building is an architectural design high-rise building in Manhattan, New York, located along the Fifth Avenue between the 33rd and 34th Streets. Before the building of the World Trade Center (WTC), Empire State Building was the tallest building in the US as from 1931 to 1970. This building took over the title of the tallest building from the Chrysler Building. New York State’s original nickname is the “Empire State,” probably where the building got its name. As of this year, the Empire State Building is the fifth-tallest in the US, six tallest free-standing structure in the US, and 28th-tallest in the world.


Designed by Shreve, Lamb & Harmon, the Empire State Building has a roof height of 1,250 feet, and adding the antenna, the total height stands at 1,454 feet tall. The top floor, which is also the observatory deck stands at 1,224 feet while the other observation deck stands at 1,050 feet. Most of the floors are for office use and there are additional observation decks where people get the opportunity to see the New York skyline. The Empire State Realty Trust owns this 86-years-old building that took one year to build at a cost of $40,948,900, an equivalent of today’s $645 million. The east to west dimension is 424 feet while the north to south measures 187 feet. In total, the 102 floors measures 2,248,355 square feet, and 73 elevators serve the whole building.


Originally, there would have been a hollow mast and a steel shaft of 158 feet above the 86th floor with a conical roof and an airship docking station on the 102nd floor. Passengers would disembark on the 103rd floor, now used for accessing and maintaining the top antennas and facilities. Above this floor, there are several stairs and a ladder reaching the pinnacle of the building.

Immediately the building launched several radio and TV stations broadcasted from the Empire State Building until the construction of the WTC when most moved to the North Tower of the WTC. After the September 11, 2001, attacks on the WTC, a number of stations went back to the Empire State Building. Currently, this building is home to twelve TV stations and eighteen radio stations.

In 1994, the building installed a motion simulator on the second floor with simulators lasting up to eight minutes a session and a cinematic presentation of 25 minutes. At the beginning, the building had a searchlight at the top until 1956 when the owners installed four “Freedom Lights.” In 1964, there was an addition of several floodlights that illuminated the top of the building from the 72nd floor. During the US’ bicentennial celebrations in 1976, technicians installed new blue, red and white lights. From this time, the building installed different lights depending on the occasions, for example, during the home games of major New York home teams, the lights reflect each team’s colors.

Incidences In The Building

On July 28, 1945, Lieutenant Colonel William Franklin Smith Jr’s B-25 Mitchell bomber crashed between the floors 79 and 89 killing fourteen people but, surprisingly, an elevator operator survived a 75-story plunge inside an elevator. In early 2000, severed cables led to an elevator free-falling forty stories from the 44th floor to the fourth floor and, had it not been the narrowed shaft that slowed it down, the outcome would have been catastrophic. The passengers at the time only suffered minor injuries. There have also been two fatal shootings within the Empire State Building; the first one occurred in 1997 when Abu Kamal, a retired Palestinian teacher shot seven people on the first observation deck, and the second one in 2012 when Jeffrey T. Johnson shot and killed his former co-worker on the sidewalks of the building along Fifth Avenue. Finally, the building has had more than thirty successful suicide attempts to date.


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