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Facts About the Empire State Building

Updated on June 13, 2014

The 102 storey Empire State Building was the World's Tallest Building for more than two decades and is still in the top 20. Along with the Statue of Liberty, the building is one of the most recognisable on the New York City skyline and a visit to one or both of it's observation decks is an important part of any visit to the city.

The building was built on the site of the original Waldorf-Astoria hotel, which in turn was built on the site of the 18th century John Thomson Farm.

The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel was stripped of stained glass windows, fireplaces, light fittings and many other items before demolition. The rubble was dumped 15 miles out into the Atlantic Ocean.

On a foggy day in July 1945, a US army B25 bomber crashed into the building killing 14 people and started a fire. An elevator operator survived a 75 storey plunge.

The spire at the top was originally intended to be used for mooring airships. This practice was abandoned after only one attempt - the designers hadn't anticipated the high winds at that height..

The building derives it's name from the official nick name of New York - the Empire State.

In March 2010, a three year project was started to remove, upgrade and re-install the 6,514 windows helping to put the building in the US's top 10 most energy efficient buildings.

60,000 tons of steel, 10 million bricks, 2.5 million feet of electrical wire and 120 miles of pipe were used during construction.

Every year a race is held on the stairs from the ground floor to the 86th - a vertical distance of 1050 feet - the record being 9 minutes 33 seconds.

Since 1964 the building has been floodlit at night, often in colours appropriate for a special date or holiday.

The building has appeared in a wide range of Movies. From 1933's King Kong to Sleepless in Seattle and Independence Day.

In April 2006 security guards prevented Jeb Corliss, a professional BASE jumper, jumping from the 86th storey observation deck wearing a wing suit. He has successfully jumped from the Eiffel Tower.

In 1972, with the completion of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in sight, the buildings owners planned to add 11 stories in a bid to retain position of world's tallest building.


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