The Fascinating History Of The Empire State Building

History Facts

Where: Manhattan, New York, USA
Erected in 1931
Pride and prejudice – a power competition between two rich traders
Go There For: 
Fantastic views from the heart of the metropolis


The Empire State Building is a towering presence on the New York skyline. At the time of its construction in the early 1930s it was the tallest building in the world, and since then it has had a special place reserved in the hearts and minds of New Yorkers and visitors alike.

What happened here?

The extraordinary structure of the Empire State Building was planned during the boom years of the 1920s, and constructed in 1931 at the height of the Depression. It was the product of a competition between Walter Chrysler of Chrysler Corp. and John Jakob Raskob, founder of General Motors, to see who could build the tallest building.

Constructed of limestone and stainless steel, the tiered structure reflects the popular Art Deco-style of the era. The 700-foot tower at the summit was originally intended as a mooring mast for air balloons, however after several unsuccessful landing attempts and unfavorable wind conditions at 1350 feet, in 1950 the tower became the base of a 225-foot television antenna.

The building has seen countless historical events and has welcomed celebrities and heads of state to New York City. A number of curious events have contributed to the worldwide reputation of the building, including when an Army Air Corps B-25 bomber plane which crashed into the 79th floor in dense fog, at the end of World War II. Though it’s no longer the world’s tallest skyscraper, the Empire State Building has a remarkable place in the history of the United States.

What’s there to see and do?

– The Empire State Building boasts two observatories from which visitors can gaze out from on high at the vast metropolis. The outdoor observatory is located in the 86th floor, with promenades on all sides of the building. From the 102nd floor indoor observatory you can as far as 80 miles on a clear day.

– The coloured tower light on the Empire State Building often represents a cause or celebrates a holiday of some description. Even in the hours of darkness, the Empire State building can be admired from afar.

– The Fifth Avenue Gallery, located in the Fifth Avenue lobby, hosts a wide variety of arts events and exhibitions throughout the year. It is open to the public daily and entry is free.



The Empire State Building
350 Fifth Ave. ( at 34th St.)
New York, New York 10018
Tel: 212 736 3100