skyscrapers gallery - Empire State Building
CNN  — 

Here’s a look at the Empire State Building.


Located on Fifth Avenue between 33rd and 34th streets in Manhattan.

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

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.

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

From the observation decks, visitors can see as far as 80 miles away into New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts on a clear day. The distinctive binocular viewers around the building were made by Tower Optical company.

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.

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 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).

The building has 24/7 security. It is monitored with security technology, such as CCTV cameras, and the screening for visitors is similar to airport security procedures.


1928-1929 - The famous Fifth Avenue Waldorf Astoria Hotel is sold to Bethlehem Engineering Corporation. Soon after Empire State Inc. is formed by members of the Dupont family and a former General Motors executive. Former New York Governor Alfred E. Smith is named head of the newly formed corporation.

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, DC.

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 and Col. Henry J. Crown. The group sells the title to Prudential Insurance Company of America. PICA agrees to a long-term lease.

1954 - Col. Crown and his Chicago group purchase the building.

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

1973 - The 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.

June 24, 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. The new One World Trade Center reclaims the title in 2012.

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

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

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. The new entrance, to be completed by the end of 2019, is the first renovation.

November 26, 2019 - The 80th floor redevelopment is completed. New components to the final phase of the $165 million-dollar project are new art exhibits, panoramic views of many renowned landmarks around the city, and several interactive experiences.


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: 102

Steps: 1,860 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.