7 Incredible Facts About The Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is one of New York City‘s most iconic buildings. Featured in countless films and known for its gorgeous lighting, it is a national landmark. Whether you are visiting the Big Apple or just curious about one of the world’s most famous skyscrapers, here are some interesting facts about The Empire State Building.

Facts About The Empire State Building

1. It Was Originally A Massive Failure

The Empire State Building was made to house corporate offices in what was the most profitable city in the nation. But thanks to the Great Depression and stock market crash which came right around the time of completion in 1929, there were no businesses around to occupy the building. After all the time and effort it took to build the world’s tallest building, it had flopped. It wasn’t until the boom of the American economy after World War II that the building finally became profitable and considered a success.

2. It Was Part Of A Race

In the late 1920s, New York City was booming. Skyscrapers were popping up left and right across Manhattan, and the city was slowly being shaped into what we know today. At the time, the Chrysler Building was in construction. It was only a matter of a time before the two architect teams began racing to create the world’s tallest skyscraper. Once Chrysler learnt that the Empire State building would be 1,000 feet tall, they changed their plan to add an extra floor.

Then the two went back and forth until finally the Empire State Building was completed in 1931 and would remain the world’s tallest building for 40 years.

empire state building facts

3. It Was Built In Record Time

Not only did the Empire State Building become the largest building, it was also completed in record time. From start to finish the construction took just 20 months. 3,400 men worked each day and averaged around four to five stories per week.

4. It Was Hit By A Bomber In 1945

An early July morning in 1945, Army Lt. Col. William F. Smith was flying an Amy B-25 bomber to NYC’s La Guardia Airport when he became extremely disoriented. He was lost in dense fog but managed to dodge most of the towering skyscrapers – all but the Empire State Building. He crashed into the 78th and 79th floors which resulted in his plane exploding and the death of himself, two airmen and 11 people within the building.

image: Todd DeRoller/Facebook

5. The Crash Led To An Elevator Drop Of 75 Stories

During the 1945 plane crash, the cords were severed to the elevators, one of which included a young elevator operator. The 19-year-old operator, Betty Lou Oliver, plummeted 75 floors down in the cable car and lived to tell the tale.

empire state building facts

6. It Has Its Own ZIP Code

The Empire State Building is home to so many businesses that it actually has its own zip code. It stands within Manhattan’s 10001 ZIP which covers the area east of 5th Avenue and 25th and 35th Streets. Since 1980, though, The Empire State Building has had its own ZIP code of 10118.

empire state building facts

7. Lovebirds Get Extra Perks

Couples who marry on the 80th floor on Valentine’s Day, become honourary members of the Empire State Wedding Club. This grants them free admission to the observatory each year on Valentine’s Day. This is no easy process though, as the building doesn’t allow for private ceremonies. However, they do have a selection process to allow a limited number of marriages on Valentine’s Day.

empire state building facts

Melanie Hamilton

Melanie is an avid traveller with a passion for history and global foods. She is currently based in Tbilisi, Georgia where most of her time is occupied with qvevri wine and Soviet history. Having do-si-do'd her way across Europe and Latin America, she's enjoyed some of the world's most exciting places firsthand and can't wait to tell you about them.

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