Empire State

WC Art Encyclopedia Empire State

The Empire State Building is a skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. It is located at the corner of 5th avenue and West 34th Street. With 102 stories it was the world tallest building for 40 years between 1931 and 1972. The name of the Empire State Building derives from the nickname for the state of New York, Empire State.

The site was historically occupied since the late 19th century by the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, frequented by The Four Hundred, the social elite of New York. Construction work on the skyscraper that was designed by William F. Lamb from Shreve, Lamb and Harmon in just two weeks started on St. Patrick’s Day 1930. It was built in Art Deco style by approx. 3,400 workers, many of whom were immigrants and Mohawk iron workers. 5 of them died during construction.

The opening took place on May 1, 1931 when President Hoover lit the building’s lights by pushing a button in Washington, DC. Due to the Great Depression, which coincidented with the opening, as well as its poor location away from any public transport the Empire State building never became profitable until the 1950s.In the beginning many called it Empty State Building. Today more than 20,000 people work in the offices of the skyscraper making it the second largest office complex in the USA behind the Pentagon. It even has its own ZIP code.

Currently the whole building undergoes renovation. $120 million alone are spent in an effort to transform the building into a more energy efficient and eco-friendly structure. In September 2011 the efforts already paid off when the building received a gold LEED rating, making it the tallest LEED certified building in the USA.

The building was site of over 30 suicides during the years. One on May 1, 1947 became renowned as “The Most Beautiful Suicide”. The photo of the oddly intact corpse of Evelyn McHale taken only minutes after she landed on a car at the foot of the building was used by Andy Warhol in one of his prints.



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