The Empire State Building is a mandatory attraction in New York.

It’s the symbol of the city and of the country itself.

It’s located in the central area of the island Manhattan, known as Midtown. It’s a skyscraper built in the Art Déco style, comprising 102 floors and a height of 443 meters, if we take into account the antenna tower, which was added to it later. It was the world’s highest structure for 40 years, until the edification of the World Trade Center.

The story began in 1799, when the city of New York sold a vacant lot to John Thompson, a farmer. The lot was cultivated throughout a 26-year period.

John sold the lot to Charles Lawton, who then, after 2 years, sold it to the famous Astor family. At that point, the lot turned into an investment property.

Shortly after, 2 mansions were built there which, when demolished, gave birth to the complex known as Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

The Bethlehem Engineering Corporation bought the hotel and the Empire State, Inc. was established. In the following year, in 1930, the edification of the Empire State Building began. William F. Lamb, of the architectural company Shreve, Lamb & Harbon outlined the building, abiding by the guidelines that mentioned something huge. The architect got inspired by the Reynolds Building, of Winston-Salem, located in North Carolina.

The construction evolved at a pace of 4 floors per week and the construction team was comprised of 3500 men, most of them European immigrants. It was concluded after 410 days.

The first owners planned to place a flagpole at the top of the building, in order to have it functioning as a mooring spot for airships and to make it taller than the Chrysler Building. But a conclusion was reached, stating that airship mooring could be dangerous and so the plan was shelved. Currently, the pole is the TV antenna’s base.


In 1931, President Hoover inaugurated the building. On the May 1st of the same year, he pressed the button in Washington D.C. which started the building’s lighting system.

The opening took place during the Great Depression, thus it remained partially empty for a couple of years. The city inhabitants called it the Empty State Building.

Two years after the skyscraper’s opening, the movie King Kong debuted in New York. In which a giant gorilla is loose in New York and captures the movie star, taking her to the top of the Empire State Building. The scene where the gorilla is at the top of the building, fighting the planes which were after him, became history.

A whole sequence of investors and companies happened throughout time, until 2013, the year when then the Empire State Building finally became public.

The American Society of Civil Engineers named the Empire State Building one of the 7 words of the modern world.


Currently, the skyscraper has 2 decks that can be visited. One is located on the 86th floor and other on the 102nd. The 86th’s observatory, at a height of 320 meters, is outdoors and it has been the setting of countless television and movie scenes. From there, one can have a panoramic view of New York City.

Besides the observatories, one must also highlight the lobby, which comprises an 11-meter tall image in relief depicting the building, and the 5th avenue gallery, where several art pieces are exhibited.

Another important aspect is the lighting of the Empire State Building. Since 1976, the tower’s light changes in order to celebrate dates or special occasions.

When I was in New York, I hesitated between visiting the Empire State Building or the Rockefeller Center, known as The Rock. Most of the information that I read recommended The Rock, because from there one could experience a gorgeous panoramic view of the city, with the Empire State Building included.

Indeed, from the 70th floor of The Rock we have an outstanding perspective over the Empire State Building. It’s the one that stands out in the skyline. It’s gorgeous. But the next time I go to New York I will visit the 2 observatories of the Empire State Building.

I do recommend reading the other articles on the city. Know why they call it the Big Apple, how its streets and avenues organization and get to know the Statue of Liberty.