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CityPASS Home  »  City Traveler Blog  »  Empire State Building - The World's Most Famous Office Building

Empire State Building - The World's Most Famous Office Building

A trip to New York City isn't complete unless you take the time to visit the Empire State Building. Opened in 1931, the Empire State Building is the world's most famous office building, a historical landmark, and was named "America's Favorite Architecture" in a poll conducted by the American Institute of Architects. It's no surprise that visiting this amazing building is one of the top places to visit in New York. The graphic below will give you even more information about this amazing building.

Share your story of a visit to the Empire State Building in the comments below - we'd love to hear it!

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Empire State Building

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History Highlights:

1930: On March 17, construction of the Empire State Building began. The framework rose at a rate of 4 1/2 stories per week.

1931: On May 1, President Hoover pressed a button in Washington, D.C., which turned on the Empire State Building's lights and officially opened the building.

1937: The first officially sanctioned climb to the top of the Empire State Building took place by 49-year-old A. W. Aldrich, a Vermont Farmer, who reached the top in 36 minutes.

1950: For its 20 anniversary, the Empire State Building received a new antenna for television, FM radio, and emergency broadcasting.

1955: The American Society of Civil Engineers selected the Empire State Building as one of the seven greatest engineering achievements in America's history.

1956: Four large beacon lights were installed at the foot of the television tower called "Operation Light Up the Sky," also known as "The Freedom Lights."

1964: Escalators were installed in the Empire State Building.

1974: July 3 was the first time the lights were turned back on after the energy crisis, which began a year earlier, forcing them to “shut off” temporarily.

1976: The 50 millionth visitor came to the Empire State Building. The Empire State Building began using colored floodlights to illuminate the building at night.

1980: Empire State Building received its own zip code: 10118.

1981: On May 18, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission declared the building a landmark.

1982: On December 20, the Empire State Building was listed on the State & National Register of Historic Places.

2002: Peter L. Malkin, who already owned the 114-year lease on the building, purchased the actual building, making him both owner and manager of the Empire State Building.

2007: The Empire State Building was named "America's Favorite Architecture" in a poll conducted by the American Institute of Architects.

2009: The Empire State Building announced its sustainability program to reduce the carbon footprint and be more energy-efficient, making it the global model for retrofitting existing buildings.

Vital Statistics

The total height of the building, including the broadcast tower, is 1,453 feet, 8 9/16 inches.

From the ground to the 86th floor observatory is 1,050 feet.

The height of the building from the ground to the 102nd floor observatory is 1,250 feet.

The height of the broadcast tower is 203 feet, 8 9/16 inches.

  • Number of floors: 103
  • Number of steps: 1,872 from street level to 103rd floor.
  • Number of windows: 6,514
  • Number of entrances: 5
  • Number of elevators: 73, including six freight elevators, operating at speeds from 600 to 1,400 feet per minute

Land Area: 79,288 sq ft

Construction Facts:

  • 200,000 cubic feet of Indiana limestone & granite exterior cladding
  • An estimated 10 million bricks
  • 730 tons of aluminum and stainless steel
  • 57,000 tons of steel
  • 473 miles of electrical wiring
  • 70 miles of pipe
  • Volume: 37 million cubic feet
  • Weight: 365,000 tons
  • Foundation: 55 feet (16.7 meters) below bround, 210 columns at the base
  • Duration: one year and 45 days to build
  • Man-hours: 7,000,000 hours to build
  • Cost: $24,718,000 (building), $40,948,900 (building and property)


Observatory Facts

The Empire State Building Observatory is one of the world's most beloved attractions and is the region's #1 tourist destination.

Opened to the public in 1931

Approximately four million visitors each year

Observatory Hours

  • Open daily 365 days a year
  • 8 a.m. to 2.a.m. seven days a week
  • The last elevators go up at 1:15a.am.


In the Movies

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Famous Visitors

  • Pierce Brosnan
  • Mariah Carey
  • Fidel Castro
  • Cirque du Soleil
  • Bill Clinton
  • Tom Cruise
  • Celine Dion
  • Roger Federer
  • Prince Andrew, Duke of York
  • Queen Elizabeth II
  • more...

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