Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is a skyscraper in New York City borough of Manhattan. With a structural height of 381 meters - to antenna around 443 meters - the 1930-1931 built in unusually short construction building was not only the tallest building in New York, but until 1972 the tallest building in the world. Since the destruction of the World Trade Center in the attacks of 11 September 2001 it was up to the completion of the follow- construction One World Trade Center back in 2013, the tallest building in the city.

The Empire State Building is located on the southern edge of the New York district of Midtown Manhattan on Fifth Avenue, between 33rd and 34th Street. This is roughly in the center of Manhattan Island, which is surrounded by the Hudson River and East River. His address is 350 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10118th

The rooms of the 102 floors of the Empire State Building are mainly used for commercial purposes. On the free surface in the 86th floor as well as in the 102nd floor are publicly accessible viewing platforms, which are among the most visited attractions of the city. The name of the skyscraper is derived from The Empire State, a nickname of the U.S. state of New York. Since 1986, the Empire State Building is one of the national monuments of the United States. To date, applies the Empire State Building as the " epitome of the skyscraper ". This application is mainly due to its great resonance in the media, and in particular its diverse representation in films.

  • 2.1 Planning
  • 2.2 construction
  • 2.3 opening
  • 2.4 Since the opening
  • 3.1 Transmitter
  • 3.2 Tourist
  • 3.3 Empire State Building Run -Up
  • 6.1 documents
  • 6.2 Literature
  • 6.3 External links


Architecture and Construction

The Empire State Building is to be assigned as well as the Chrysler Building to the architectural style of Art Deco. Its shape was influenced by the native of the 1916 Building Code ( Zoning Law ), which prescribed for all high-rise buildings in New York that the outline of a building needs to rejuvenate, the higher it is. No straight facade was allowed to be more than 37.5 meters high. This should be ensured that each high-rise construction does not throw too much shadow on its neighbors, and thus these buildings can appear unattractive to potential tenants.

Until the 86th floor consists of skyscrapers from a single 320 -meter-high main block which tapers through slight setbacks from street level of upward again and again. This gives the building also its characteristic shape. The open space on the 86th floor is the first observation deck. It follows a 16 floors comprehensive, slender tower, whose floors are mainly the operation of transmission facilities. About the 102nd floor finally follows the top of the Empire State Building, which is 381 meters high. There is the building of the 62 meter high antenna. This was installed in 1950, was originally but about five meters higher than today - at that time the building including antenna was 448.7 meters high. In 1984 the antenna was then exchanged for the present.

The construction of the Empire State Building consists of a typical for its time it was built steel frame, which is held together by a rivet. The façade was designed with limestone and granite used in the construction of the steel frame. On the facade of the 6,379 window units were individually mounted. This steel structure (only the floors are made of concrete ) with a weight of about 370,000 tons is in proportion to its size very difficult, including the facade of granite or limestone contributes a lot. For the construction of the building, approximately 60,000 tons of steel were used.

The lobby of the building was intricately designed with marble. To find inlay work to the Empire State Building next to represent the seven wonders of the world as the eighth wonder of the world on the walls. In the background is a map of the North American continent is visible. This is on the geographical location of the building ( New York) refer.


The Empire State Building was from its completion in 1931 to 1972, the tallest building in the world. It has a roof height of 381 meters and a total height of 443.2 aerial yards. The approximately 62 meter long antenna on his roof was assembled retrospectively only in December 1950. It dissolved on May 1, 1931, the 319 -meter-high Chrysler Building from the tallest building in the world.

By the year 1954 it was the tallest structure in the world until it was topped by a transmission tower. Until the Moscow TV tower was completed in 1967, it was still the highest non- guyed structure in the world. Only in 1972 the rank of the highest building in the north tower of the World Trade Center was taken over by 417 meters. Since the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001 by the World Trade Center was destroyed, it was in New York City once again the tallest building. In May 2013, but was surpassed by One World Trade Center with a height of 541 meters and has since become the second highest building of the city. Also, it is currently the fourth- tallest building in the United States after the One World Trade Center and the 442 -meter-high Willis Tower and the Trump Tower 423 meters high, which are both located in Chicago.

After the completion of the Empire State Building no higher buildings were two reasons built (apart from transmission towers ) for a long time: On the one hand were the classic steel frame, the possibilities of technology exploited it came up that this type of building above a certain height easy to was expensive, especially as regards the single insertion of the window. On the other hand, hardly any need for additional office space was available due to the economic situation. Many office space of those skyscrapers that had emerged in New York in the 1930s, were fully used until the 1950s.


The metal pole as well as the highest, inset two buildings of the Empire State Building will be lit since 1964 at nightfall to midnight in various colors. Without a special occasion, the building is illuminated with white light.

In many occasions, the top of the Empire State Building lights up in different colors, for example red, white and blue for the U.S. holidays, red-green during the Christmas season, orange for Halloween, red on Valentine's Day, green on St. Patrick 's Day, also green on Earth Day, blue-white for Yankees home games in the World Series playoffs and pink at the Christopher Street Day. In the colors of the German national flag, the tip is illuminated once a year on the day of the Steuben Parade. The official website of the Empire State Building provides an overview of the monthly lighting plan.

Also special current events or appreciations are expressed by special lighting. So was immersed after the sudden death of Frank Sinatra in 1998 in reference to the nickname " Ol ' Blue Eyes" the Empire State Building in blue light. After the death of King Kong actress Fay Wray 2004, the high-rise for 15 minutes was completely unlit. For commercial purposes, the light was used as in 1995, when Microsoft 95 the high-rise, red, green and yellow let enlighten the introduction of the Windows operating system in the colors of the Windows logo blue.

On the evening of November 6, 2012, the building was lit in the context of the U.S. presidential election in the national colors. As an incumbent, Barack Obama was clear as election winner, the building was completely bathed in blue light (the color of the Democratic Party ).



Built in 1897, the Waldorf - Astoria, which was demolished in October 1929 was located at the planned site of the Empire State Building. The name "Empire State Building " was from Empire State (in German about " Empire State" ), the nickname of the state of New York derived.

On August 29, 1929 announced John Jacob Raskob, an investor in General Motors, and Al Smith, former governor of the State of New York and now president of the project, the plans for a new skyscraper, which should be the highest in the world. They presented this draft with a height of about 305 meters. Thus, the race was again pointed to the tallest building in the world in New York City. At this time already competed the tower of the Bank of Manhattan 40 Wall Street and the Chrysler Building to the title of the tallest building in the world. Thus ensued a battle between two financial centers of New York: Wall Street in Lower Manhattan against Midtown. Smith and Raskob decided on a building site on Fifth Avenue between 33rd and 34th St., considerably south of the center of Midtown, in the hope that would be the mere presence of the gigantic building, the area around 34th Street into a new business center transform.

As architects, the New York firm of Shreve, Lamb and Harmon was selected. Since there were no plans for a high-rise building of this size, none of the three architects had previously implemented a similar project of this magnitude. For the opening date has been set, however, May 1, 1931, creating a construction period of 20 months remained. The contract for the construction of the building was awarded to the company Starrett Brothers and Eken. A height of 320 meters with 85 storeys, however, was announced in the summer of 1929.

As on the Chrysler Building surprisingly a crown was built in November 1929, so this reached 319 meters, this had been the first impact on the plans for the Empire State Building, because the Chrysler Building had now gained the record for the world's tallest skyscraper and the Tower of the Bank of Manhattan clearly dominates ( 283 meters). On December 11, 1929 Al Smith announced that the Empire State Building would reach a height of 381 meters after the final plans. The new record resulted from a further specially designed 61 -meter-high tower, which should be placed on the 320 -meter-high main block. In this new height the builders of the Chrysler Building had no chance of their skyscraper design must be such that he could surpass the Empire State Building.

The 61 meter high tower was to serve as a landing mast for airships from Europe, according to the original plans, so that passengers could leave the transatlantic route, the airship on catwalks and would arrive after an elevator ride right in the heart of the city on Fifth Avenue. Critics of the project did the plan immediately be unfeasible from and directed attention to the strong updrafts at high altitude, which would make a safe docking and permanent stay at the mooring mast impossible. These concerns proved to be justified after during a test with a small airship in the docking procedure only once and only for a few minutes succeeded without passengers disembarked.


In January 1930, work began on the foundation of the building, which was completed in March. It could be started on 17 March 1930 with the construction of the building. In the construction of the Empire State Building around 50 years of experience were included in the high-rise construction. At the end of the 19th century was started in New York, to build high-rise buildings. Since 1908, the city could boast the tallest building in the world. On the site over 3,400 construction workers were employed. The workers ensured thanks to the good construction logistics for a high building speed; so every morning were posted on the site detailed plans that coordinated the construction schedule of the day exactly. The hourly wage of 1.92 dollars. On average, about 4.5 floors per week could be built. In September 1930, 14 new floors were once finished within 10 days. Alone in the short period from March to September 1930 were built in the shell 60 floors. The steel that was used for the construction came from Pennsylvania and was already after eight hours on the construction site where he was raised by eight cranes upwards. The cranes had to be after a few floors repeatedly disassembled again, and assembled on the floors above again. After the steel was hoisted by cranes upwards, mounted him, the workers and riveted him then, with a tolerance of less than three millimeters. The high pace of construction is due to a remarkable day logistics and planning. For the supply of workers at the construction site mobile canteens were set up in some floors, which migrated with the increasing height upwards. The workers there were able to buy a complete day meal for 50 cents.

In November 1930 was the steel frame for the main block, which comprised 85 floors up there, to be completed. Work on the interior and the façade were still found in the floors below in progress. As of November 1930, work began on the 16- story tower, which sits on the main block. Because of the narrow floor plan of the building in this large amount of construction was continued only with two cranes. On March 17, 1931, the last carrier was mounted on the building, so that the external construction work had been completed and the skyscrapers had reached its final height of 381 meters. On the roof of a large flag of the United States was hung at the ceremony for some time. The interior works were still ongoing at about six weeks. Within 18 months, the building was completed and accomplished one of the greatest engineering achievements in the history of civil engineering.

For interior design, among others, the Lahnmarmor regarded as particularly resistant and water repellent was used from the quarries to Villmar, Schupbach and Gaudernbach in Hesse. These Devonian reef limestones are particularly colorful and can fossil rich decorations have. The New York based architectural firm Shreve, Lamb and Harmon had at times an emissary in Europe employs, whose job it was to control the proper transportation and proper supplies. According to modern knowledge, seven species have been installed by Lahn marble in the interior of the building. Besides one used for interior decoration other types of natural stone from Belgium, France, Italy and the United States. As an importer of the needed rocks the Tompkins - Kiel Marble Company occurred. The installation of the sophisticated design took two American companies, which were William Bradley & Sons and the Traitel Marble Company. At that time, the cost of " marble " equipment amounted to 982,000 U.S. dollars. Lahnmarmor but will not be promoted today.

The day started at 3:30 and ended at 16:30 clock clock. 60,000 tons of steel and 10 million bricks were used. Particular attention attracted the vertigo Mohawk Indians, who were used as riveter. Per day they struck in groups of four synchronized up to 800 rivets in the steel frame and threw themselves into more than 300 meters over 40 meters away glowing building materials and tools. The by the builders, John J. Raskob, commissioned photographer Lewis Hine photographed the workers there. These images were so popular that they were re-used in movies and commercials and still popular are common property.

The local press pursued the construction project and reported regularly on:

"Everything is like a hunt to heaven; the steel workers in front, and all the others follow them like crazy. "


The opening ceremony was held by U.S. President Herbert Hoover and the former Governor Al Smith on May 1, 1931. The event was broadcast nationwide on the radio. Smith was cut at the inauguration of the building the ribbon at the entrance of his grandchildren. On the evening of the opening day, the building was lit for the first time, even in those areas where the building was not rented.

Since the opening

After opening many offices were up in the 1950s empty. Only the lower floors were already occupied. Although the upper floors were almost completely empty, most of the lights were turned on. The observation deck with a million visitors annually generated long time amounted to more than the total rental income. The New York spoke of the Empty State Building ( Empty). Even if the Empire State Building was not possible to establish a new center between Midtown Manhattan and Wall Street - until now it has remained a lone solitaire, not necessarily a disadvantage for its far-reaching visual effect - can a failure be no question: the New York fell in love right away in their new landmark, the grand finale of the busy, overwrought 1920s and the brave character of courage and steadfastness in times of depression. To date, the building in its position is unchallenged, as it towers above all its neighbors far.

On July 28, 1945 at 15:34 local time clock is a B -25 bomber flew due to a navigational error in poor visibility caused by fog, in the building at the height of the 78th floor. 14 people died here. The Empire State Building held the crash without any problems and was reopened the next day. The damage to the building have been resolved within a few months.

In 2008, some technical upgrades were made to the building, including the heating system was renewed. This is the Empire State Building have a better energy balance and be more environmentally friendly. The windows were better insulated. Currently leads owner Tony Malkin by replacing the 6,254 windows for around 20 million U.S. dollars, with a further energy saving of 38 % is to be achieved, which would mean a savings of four million dollars a year. 75 to 80 windows are exchanged daily in the rule. The project by the Clinton Climate Initiative, a foundation of former U.S. President Bill Clinton is supported. The existing outdoor lighting with colorful metal halide lamps 2012 was converted to colored LEDs, which clearly smaller-scale and diversified richer color effects are possible. From the new possibility of moving color effects will, however, made ​​rare use, eg on St. Patrick's Day and Valentine's Day.


Generally, it is mainly used as an office building, the Empire State Building. Almost all floors up to the 86th floor are occupied by offices, especially by insurance companies, leasing agencies, advertising agencies, law firms and financial institutions. In the building 73 elevators have been installed by Otis, which run in ducts with a total length of 11 kilometers.


The building was equipped with a mooring mast for dirigibles, but this was never used except for a one-off carried out with a small airship type test as such, although it is one of the murals of the wonders in the vestibule in function.

Since December 22, 1931, the top of the Empire State Building serves as a transmission tower. The company Radio Corporation of America (RCA) started as a test broadcast of a television program. For this you set up in May 1934 at the 85th floor operating rooms and a small antenna station that were tested along with the electrical engineer and inventor Edwin Howard Armstrong. After the test phase drew in October 1935, the RCA in the rooms and operating from there, first as a test and from July 1, 1941 commercially, their services to the transmitter WNBT.

The first radio signals were from WEAF -FM NBC program (now WQHT ) sent 1940. By 1950, NBC had the exclusive right to use, the installation as a transmitter. The Federal Communications Commission broke up this monopoly as other TV stations emerged in the 1940s in New York. In December 1950, a 68 meter high transmitting antenna was mounted on the top of the Empire State Building to meet the increased need is met. At the same time attracted more television channels in the floors 81 to 83. A combined broadcasting of television and radio programs of the new antenna began 1951. 1965 were more antennas installed on the observation deck of the 102 stick.

With the construction of over 400 meters high World Trade Center worsened the quality of reception of radio and television programs. Many companies eventually decided before completion of the World Trade Center. Then, the transmission system was fundamentally renewed so that new radio and television stations settled in the New York countryside back into the Empire State Building.

At present ( 2009) are emitted following radio and television programs from the Empire State Building. In brackets the reception area is limited.


The Empire State Building is home to two viewing platforms. The first of them lies in the large open area in the 86th -floor height of 320 meters. From there one has a good view over the whole of New York City and the New York metropolitan area. On clear days, a distant view of about 80 km is quite possible. Up you get with high-speed elevators. This observation deck is one of the most visited landmarks in the world. Since the building was opened in 1931, over 120 million people visited the observation deck. The observation deck was originally designed for handling air passengers onboard ships, because the top of the tower was to serve for anchoring airships. In fact, an airship tried to bring a stack of newspapers on a rope hanging on the building. The venture ultimately succeeded, but with so many difficulties that a dock was not thinking that updrafts were much too strong at this altitude. Presumably the plans for an airship harbor were from the beginning more of a public relations gimmick, but where the intention is to think the impossible and to keep the impossible possible. The docking of an airship was set effectively in 2003 in the opening sequence of the film Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow in scene. Another possibility offers views of the Empire State Building in the 102nd floor, the top floor of the building. It is 373 meters high, but is located inside the building and offers less space, which is related to the fact that the building layout at the top is only very narrow. This second observation deck was closed from 1999 to 2005. Now very high safety precautions apply to the visit of the two viewing platforms; as the transportation of glass is prohibited. Visitors must generally advised that due to the security checks wait times of over half an hour are common.

In the second floor of the Empire State Building, there is a so-called Skyride cinema. This gives visitors a virtual 3-D flight over New York City.

In the immediate vicinity of the building there are other attractions, such as Times Square to the north.

Empire State Building Run -Up

The Empire State Building Run - Up is a stair-step race for runners from the lobby to the 86th floor to the observation deck, which is held annually since 1978. Participants are runners and climbers. The stair race overcomes a vertical distance of 320 meters and includes 1576 steps. The record was set by Australian professional cyclist Paul Crake 9 minutes and 33 seconds in 2003. In the last race in 2011 won again - for the sixth time in a row - the Stuttgart stair runner Thomas Dold with a time of 10 minutes and 16 seconds. He has six wins and a second place in the most successful participants of this competition.


Both historically and today in culture and architecture enjoys the Empire State Building alike an almost legendary significance. Although the Empire State Building is no longer the tallest building in the world since 1972, this has both its popularity and its popularity did not diminish. Mainly due to its design, which is considered aesthetically succeeded and its construction, which is recognized as outstanding technical achievement, it is able the building even stronger than the Chrysler Building and other buildings of Art Deco, trigger positive feelings in the viewer.

The photos of workers on the steel frame during construction went around the world and are still so popular that they are shown on numerous posters. The eminent photographer Lewis Hine is then specially committed for this purpose by the client and his book on the construction of the Empire State Building is part of the history of photography. In addition, the building was, at least celebrated by the builders, as the eighth wonder of the world: the Empire State Building was presented in a series with the classic wonders of the world as a mosaic window in the lobby. In fact, the American Society of Civil Engineers took over the building in 1995 in the list of the architectural wonders of the modern age.

In contrast, skyscrapers of the 1960s and 70s, such as the World Trade Center, rather unpopular, which was mainly due to the sharp design, bringing many people could not identify.

The Empire State Building could become a kind of "myth" for two additional reasons: on the one hand, his enormous presence; still shapes the building 's skyline of midtown Manhattan crucial: it is still the tallest building in this district ( and the second highest in New York) and stands out particularly from the vieltürmigen the city skyline. Secondly, by the spread in numerous well-known films such as King Kong and the white woman, first produced in 1933, in which the Monkey King Kong climbs onto the roof of the skyscraper. Especially this film is due to the strong popularity of the building. In 1954, however, was followed by another film, and in 1976, in which King Kong on the World Trade Center climbs. In the film version of 2005, the final scene of the movie plays back on the Empire State Building. Also available in other films such as Empire, Percy Jackson - The Lightning Thief (film), James Bond, Independence Day, Sleepless in Seattle, The Affair to Remember, and The Day After Tomorrow, the Empire State Building plays a special role by frequently with the skyline is shown or is in direct connection with the plot or the actors. Another well-known movie of the building is Empire by Andy Warhol. In addition, some literary works deal with the building, dealing the topic from various viewpoints: some books are about the construction of the building, while others put more emphasis on a series of images. The construction of the tower in several works on the history of New York City is described, as in Ric Burns New York from 1609 to today. To date, applies the Empire State Building as a New York City landmark and as " the epitome of the skyscraper ". Since 1986, the Empire State Building is one of the national monuments of the United States.

The frequently as elegant and beautiful perceived design some more skyscrapers were after the completion of the Empire State Building built, which have certain similarities with the New York model: Erected in 1946 Torre Latinoamericana in Mexico City, for example, is the Empire State Building strong modeled.