Empire State Building Fast Facts

Posted at 10:40 AM, Jul 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-29 12:40:01-04

Here’s what you need to know about the Empire State Building.

It stands 103 stories tall (1,250 feet to top floor, excludes height of antennae, which is 204 feet).

It is located on Fifth Avenue between 33rd and 34th streets in Manhattan.

The Empire State Building took only one year and 45 days to build, or more than seven million man-hours.

There are observatories on both the 86th and 102nd floors. They attract around four million visitors annually.

Couples can sometimes see sparks when they kiss due to the static electricity at the top of the building.

The building has been featured in several movies such as “An Affair to Remember,” “Sleepless in Seattle,” “Elf” and “The Amazing Spider-Man.”

Visitors can see 80 miles into New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts on a clear day.

The tower lights are turned off on foggy nights during the spring and autumn bird migration seasons, so the lights will not confuse birds and cause them to fly into the building.

It is the tallest Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified building in the United States.

Every year on Valentine’s Day, couples who marry on the 80th floor become members of the Empire State Building Wedding Club. They receive free admission to the observatory each year on February 14 (their anniversary) thereafter.

Over thirty people have jumped to their deaths from the Empire State Building.

The Empire State Building Run-Up is an annual race up the stairs to the 86th floor (1,576 steps).

William Lamb, an architect at the firm Shreve, Lamb & Harmon, designed the Empire State Building.

The contractor was the firm Starrett Brothers and Eken.

The building has 24/7 security.

It is monitored with security technology, such as CCTV cameras.

The primary security screening for visitors is similar to airport security procedures.

1929 John J. Raskob, Coleman and Pierre du Pont, Louis G. Kaufman and Ellis P. Earle create Empire State, Inc.

January 22, 1930 Excavation begins.

March 17, 1930 Construction begins with 3,000 workers building 4.5 floors per week.

April 1931 At completion, it becomes the tallest building in the world.

May 1, 1931 President Herbert Hoover turns on the building’s lights, officially opening it, by pressing a button in Washington.

July 28, 1945 At the end of World War II, an Army Air Corps B-25 twin-engine bomber plane crashes into the 79th floor of the building, due to foggy conditions. Only two stories are damaged, but 14 people are killed.

1951 – The building is sold for $34 million to a group led by Roger Stevens, but is also sold to Prudential Insurance Company of America. PICA agrees to a long-term lease.

1954 Col. Henry J. Crown and his Chicago group purchase the building for $51.5 million.

1961 An investment group headed by Lawrence Wien purchases the building for $65 million.

1973The construction of the World Trade Center in Manhattan ends the Empire State Building’s reign as the tallest building in the world.

May 18, 1981 The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission declares the building a landmark.

1986 National Parks Service recognizes it as a National Historic Landmark.

September 11, 2001 Becomes the tallest building in New York again after the collapse of the World Trade Center.

2002 Peter L. Malkin purchases the building while holding the 114-year lease; becomes owner and manager.

April 27, 2006 Jeb Ray Corliss, host of Discovery Channel’s “Stunt Junkies,” is arrested on the 86th-floor observation deck after he tries to climb over the railing. He is wearing a mask, costume, video camera and parachute. Corliss is charged with reckless endangerment, assault, criminal trespass and obstructing governmental administration.

February 13, 2012 Malkin Holdings LLC, which controls the Empire State Building, files for an initial public offering for a real estate investment trust (REIT) for the building, along with two other Manhattan properties it controls. The filing puts the estimated value for the Empire State Building at $2.5 billion.

April 30, 2012 The new One World Trade Center reclaims the Empire State Building’s title of the tallest building in the city.

November 6, 2012 The Empire State Building partners with CNN and displays presidential election results in real time on a new LED panel.

August 22, 2018 – A new entrance for Observatory visitors at 20 West 34th Street is unveiled as part of the Empire State ReBuilding Project. “Guests will ascend a grand staircase which splits around a two-story architectural model of ESB.” The new entrance, to be completed by the end of 2019, is the first renovation.

Cost: $40,948,900 (including land)

Building Alone: $24,718,000 (less than anticipated by half, due to the Depression)

Area of Site: 79,288 square feet (7,240m) or about two acres. East to west, 424 feet (129m), north to south, 187 feet (56.9m).

Lobby: 47 feet (14.3m) above sea level

Height: The base of building rises five floors above the street. The entrance is four floors high. The lobby is three floors high. From the 60-foot setback on the fifth floor, the building soars without a break to the 86th floor.

Total Height: 1,454 feet (1,453 feet, 8 9/16th inches) or 443.2m to top of lightning rod
To 86th Floor Observatory: 1,050 feet
To 102nd Floor Observatory: 1,250 feet
102nd Floor to tip: 230 feet

Height of Antenna: 204 feet

Floors: 103

Steps: 1,872 from street level to the 103rd floor

Weight: 365,000 tons

Windows: 6,514

Street Level Access: Five entrances on 33rd Street, Fifth Avenue and 34th Street

Elevators: 73, including six freight elevators

Escalators: There are eight high-speed escalators in the concourse and second floor areas.