Empire State Building
The Idea: Centerpoint of the City/Gateway to Olympus
The Aspect: Beacon in the Night
The Face(s): Darryl Smith, Chief Night Guard; Robert Sisko, Chief Day Guard
The Empire State Building is a 102-story landmark skyscraper and American cultural icon in New York City, United States, at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street. It has a roof height of 1,250 feet (381 meters), and with its antenna spire included, it stands a total of 1,454 ft (443.2 m) high.Its name is derived from the nickname for New York, the Empire State. It stood as the
world’s tallest building for 40 years, from its completion in
1931 until construction of the World Trade Center’s North Tower was completed in 1972. Following the destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001, the Empire State Building once again became the tallest building in New York.
The Empire State Building has been named by the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. The building and its street floor interior are designated landmarks of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, and confirmed by the New York City Board of Estimate. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1986.In 2007, it was ranked number one on the List of America’s Favorite Architecture according to the AIA. The building is owned and managed by W&H Properties.The Empire State Building is currently the third tallest skyscraper in the United States (after the Willis Tower and Trump International Hotel and Tower, both in Chicago), and the 15th tallest in the world. It is also the fourth-tallest freestanding structure in the Americas.
Over the years, more than thirty people have committed suicide from the top of the building. The first suicide occurred even before its completion, by a worker who had been laid off. The fence around the observatory terrace was put up in 1947 after five people tried to jump during a three-week span. At 9:40 a.m.on Saturday, July 28, 1945, a B-25 Mitchell bomber, piloted in thick fog by Lieutenant Colonel William Franklin Smith, Jr., crashed into the north side of the Empire State Building, between the 79th and 80th floors.
The Empire State Building has one of the most popular outdoor observatories in the world, having been visited by over 110 million people. The 86th-floor observation deck offers impressive 360-degree views of the city. There is a second observation deck on the 102nd floor that is open to the public. It was closed in 1999, but reopened in November 2005. It is completely enclosed and much smaller than the first one; it may be closed on high-traffic days. Tourists may pay to visit the observation deck on the 86th floor and an additional amount for the 102nd floor. The lines to enter the observation decks, according to the building’s website, are “as legendary as the building itself:” there are five of them: the sidewalk line, the lobby elevator line, the ticket purchase line, the second elevator line, and the line to get off the elevator and onto the observation deck. For an extra fee tourists can skip to the front of the line. The skyscraper’s observation deck plays host to several cinematic, television, and literary classics including, An Affair To Remember, “On the Town”, Love Affair and Sleepless in Seattle. In the Latin American literary work Empire of Dreams by Giannina Braschi the observation deck is the site of a pastoral revolution; shepherds take over the City of New York. The deck was also the site of a Martian invasion in an old episode of I Love Lucy.
Rumors of a mysterious elevator to a non-existent floor abound, though management denies such tales. Supernatural events seem to gravitate to the building – recently, a minotaur was destroyed by several White Council Wardens in the lobby, and the buildings observation decks are frequently visited by the (harmless) spirits of those who have taken their lives by jumping from them.