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The Tragic History of the Empire State Building
By Gloria Siess
In 1945, the stately Empire State Building was treated to a horrifying shock. Out of the dense fog, a B-25 bomber crashed into its 79th and 80th floors, destroying the National Catholic Welfare Council, and killing 14 people. A year later another aircraft narrowly missed hitting it again. During the very construction of the edifice, a laid-off worker threw himself off the edge and died instantly. In 1947 alone, 5 people attempted suicide within a three week period. In 1943, a Navy Serviceman would propel himself off the edge and into the throes of Christmas Shoppers below.
Later, a beautiful student of photography, Evelyn McHale, would leap and land on a nearby parked limo. Her beauty would capture the attention of millions, including the artist Andy Warhol. Two potential suicides survived the event by accidently landing on a ledge and being rescued. In 1997 a gunman shot 7 people on the observation deck. Another gunman would emerge in 2012, killing a former co-worker. His reason? He had been laid off and had no hopes of employment.
The Singer Building, stately and ornate, also had a sad share of bad luck. In 1916 a writer would be its first recorded suicide. In 1930, a depressed businessman would abruptly leave his lawyers' office to jump to his death. By 1968, the gorgeous curves of the Singer Building would be demolished in the name of progress. Two tall, majestic structures, both touched by the tragedy of the human condition.