The Empire State Building is one of the most iconic landmarks in the US. The 102-story skyscraper located in midtown Manhattan has been one of the tallest buildings in the world for a long time. So, can you live in the empire state buildings?
No, the Empire State Building isn’t a residential building. It’s a commercial building and landmark where no one lives. There are thousands of offices in the 1,454 feet tall building with a fitness center and seven restaurants. There are also three observatories on the 80th, 86th, and 102nd floors.
With its long history, the building has come to represent some of the structures that represent New York City. Here, we discuss the history and structural design of the building and facts you might know about it.
Structure of the Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is a commercial building with almost every floor containing office spaces. There are 2,158,000 square feet of office space in the building. Several companies have offices here, and more than 20,000 people work in the building. There’s also a gym in the building for the tenants and seven dining options within the skyscraper. There are three observatories in the building on its 80th, 86th, and 102nd floors. On the 103rd floor, which is the roof of the building, there’s a small viewing platform that is open for exclusive occasions and guests.
At the top of the building, television and radio networks have their broadcast antennas. It started with NBC in 1952, but now almost every radio and television station in NYC has a broadcast antenna at the top of the building. Since it’s meant to be an office space, there are no showers in the building, which means anyone who tries to live there will have to deal with that challenge.
While it’s not residential, the 80th floor of the building contains interactive video blades which visitors to the building can use to design their itineraries while in the city. There’s also an exclusive suite on this floor where some lucky guests got to sleep for one night a few years ago.
History of the Empire State Building
The Empire State Building was designed to house corporate offices. At the time of construction, it was one of a couple of buildings seeking to be the tallest in the world. Chrysler Building became just that in 1929, but two years later, Empire State Building got it due to its 1,250 feet height, thanks largely to its iconic spire. The spire was meant to serve as a mooring station for airships. In 1950, an antenna measuring 222 feet was added, which increased its height to 1,472 feet. The antenna was replaced in 1985, reducing its height to 1,454 feet. The building was the tallest in the world from 1931 to 1972, when the One World Trade Center replaced it. It regained that title in 2001 after the 9/11 attacks and was the tallest building until 2012, when the Burj Khalifa in Dubai replaced it.
The two men responsible for the building are John J Raskob and Al Smith. Smith was the former Democratic governor of New York who also contested for the presidency but lost to Herbert Hoover in 1928. Raskob, on the other hand, was a business mogul who was the chairman of the General Motors Corporation Finance Committee. Raskob was the financer of the project who got all the investors, while Smith served as the face of the project. Shreve, Lamb & Harmon Associates handled the design of the building. It cost $40,984,900 to construct the building.
Actual construction started on March 17, 1930, although the Great Depression had just started, and the building became open on May 1, 1931. The construction only lasted 410 days. However, the great depression affected the building, and it wasn’t profitable until almost 20 years after. Over time, it has become an enduring architecture in New York City.
The building has been designated as a national and New York City landmark, and it’s famous for its art deco architecture. The site of the building used to be the original site of Waldorf Astoria Hotel until the Hotel relocated in 1928, and the land eventually ended up with John Raskob. Since Raskob’s death, there have been several investors and developers who have owned the property. In 2013, the Empire State Realty Trust Inc went public and had an initial public offering of $929.5 million. The building was worth $2.3 billion in 2019.
Fun Facts About Empire State Buildings
The building is almost 100 years old and with a rich history. Some of the things you don’t know about it include:
1. A Plane Once Crashed into It
In July 1945, a North American B-25 Mitchell flying from Massachusetts to the New York metro crashed into the building. This was due to dwindling air visibility which made it impossible for the pilot, William Franklin Smith Jr., to crash into the 78th and 79th floors of the building. The pilot and two crewmen, 11 people in the building, lost their lives in the crash. The crash also trigged fires on a few floors, but firefighters killed the fire within 40 minutes. The undamaged parts of the building opened for business the next day.
2. Quest to Retain Title as Tallest building
After the world trade center opened in 1972, the architects considered adding 11 floors to the Empire State Building to remain the tallest building in the world. But concerns about the cost and other issues eventually stopped them from proceeding with the plan.
3. Six Months Cleaning
The first outdoor cleaning of the building happened in May 1962, 30 years after it was built. It took six months with a team of 30 working for 8 hours daily. Regular cleaning of the building has been a practice since then.
4. Unique ZIP code
Although the building stands within Manhattan 10001 ZIP code, it has had its unique ZIP code since 1980. The ZIP code is 10118.
5. Nap Pod Floor
The building also used to have its entire 24th story dedicated to naps with electronic nap beds equipped with features to encourage easy sleep for people. This was between 2004 and 2008 and is probably the closest it got to becoming a residential apartment.
The Empire State Building is strictly an office space, and no one can live in the building. However, you can still visit its observatories to look at the city of New York, with basic tickets costing less than $100 depending on the floor.