Empire State Building

Empire State Building

From its popular observation deck, the Empire State Building has provided residents and tourists amazing views of New York City for over 80 years.


Prior to the construction of the Empire State Building, the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel occupied the location on Fifth Avenue and 34th Street. The original Waldorf-Astoria Hotel was demolished and rebuilt at its current location on Park Avenue. Excavation for the Empire State Building started on January 22, 1930 and construction on the building began on March 17.

photo by: Tony Fischer ©

The original Empire State Building design is based on the Reynolds Building in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. William F. Lamb of Shreve, Lamb and Harmon completed the design for the Empire State Building in two weeks. The design is an art deco style, which was popular prior to World War II. Constructed at the end of the Great Depression, the Empire State Building displayed the resiliance of the United States, while employing thousands of workers.

Upon completion, the Empire State Building was the largest building in the world for over 40 years, being surpassed by the World Trade Center One Building in New York City. After the 9/11 attacks, the Empire State Building again became the tallest building in New York City.

Floodlights were added to illuminate the top floors of the building in 1964. Since then, the flood lights have change many colors to represent different events through out history. The Empire State Building has been noted in many movies, the most famous was King Kong.


The Empire State Building towers 1,453 feet high in to the New York City skyline. The building’s pinnacle is 203 feet tall, while the building itself rises 1,253 feet tall and weighs 340,000 tons. On the 86th floor is one of the most popular indoor and outdoor observation decks in the world. The following 16 floors are not utilized for office space rather they are used for radio and television transmission equipment. There is another fully enclosed observation deck on floor 102, for a total of 102 floors.

Including the cost of land acquisition, the entire Empire State Building project cost $40,948,900. The building itself only cost $24,718,000 to build.

Over 3,400 workers, mostly immigrant workers from Europe, were hired to work on the construction crews. The Empire State Building was completed in early 1931 and officially opened on May 1, 1931. RCA was the first company to begin broadcasting from the building on December 22, 1931.

quick facts & figures

Construction Start: March 17, 1930

Architect: William F. Lamb

Tallest Building: 40 years

Height: 1,453′

Observation Floor: 1,050′

Total Cost: $40,948,900

Total Floors: 102

Total Steps: 1,860

Total Weight: 365,000 tons