North America

Empire State Building Construction : The Epic story

Hundreds of feature films and ads have immortalized the building and not to mention the memorabilia, toys, models, thimbles, ashtrays, postcards which pay homage to the Empire State Building New York. King Kong’s ascent to the top of the tower is still etched in our minds as does the romantic rendezvous in ‘An Affair to Remember’.

The undying appeal of the tower lies in the fact that man can accomplish anything and the impossible. It soon garnered iconic and unparalleled status in New York City.

An unbelievable feat in those times as the Empire State Building construction was completed in a year and forty five days. It was done in record time and much within the expected budget. The inauguration of the building was on May 1, 1931 amidst a bevy of people and fanfare.

A race to the finish!

The ribbon to the building was cut by the Major Jimmy Walker who delivered a speech and the President Herbert Hoover lit up the building tower on the push of a button. The Empire state building New York went on to become the tallest building spectacle in the whole wide world which fixed eyes of envy on this behemoth of a construction. So the story needs to be told as to how this miracle was made a reality.
How it started:

It all started with the race for the sky. With the construction of the Eiffel tower in 1889 American architects wanted to out do their French brothers and bring up something taller. In quick spells of years up came the Metropolitan Life Tower, Wool worth Building and Bank of Manhattan each leaving the former behind in height.

The competition had only begun with Walter Chrysler building a monumental structure the height of which was kept a secret until completion. Raskob and his partners nose dived into the middle of the game with a building in mind that was as high as it could go without toppling over.

The job was planned to be completed in eighteen months. Not one minute, an hour or a day was wasted in the Empire State Building Construction. The Waldorf Astoria Hotel was the original property on the grounds where the building stands today. For the foundation of the building 300 men labored day in and night in two shifts to dig through the rock.

The spectacle of the rivets!

The steel skeleton of the building came next. The Empire State Building construction itself was a tourist event. 210 steel columns were used to compose the vertical frame. People stopped to watch the workers place together the girders. They were mentioned in the press as men crawling, nonchalant, walking, climbing, swooping and swinging over steel frames of gigantic proportions. The riveters were a joy to watch as they worked in teams of four.

The heater made the rivets red hot and tossed them 75 feet to the catcher. The catcher would catch the rivet in a tin can and lift those using tongs. He would then hold them in position on a beam after knocking any cinders off them. The bucker up would help support the rivet and the gunman would hit it.
The last golden rivet!

When the steel work was done loud cheers rand the cold air and a flag was raised to match the pivotal occasion. The last rivet made up of solid gold was put in place marked by a ceremony. A railway system in which the car was pushed by the people was created on the site. It helped move materials quickly and moved with lesser effort.

Innovations rocked the construction with a chute opening to a hopper which released bricks when needed instead of the streets being closed to accumulate the bricks for storage. Things were done with perfection and in full swing about 14 and a half floors were completed in ten days time all complete with stone, concrete and steel.
Speeding elevators!

To defeat the numbers of people waiting for the elevator the building was going to be 7 banks of elevators which serviced portions of the floors. In all 58 elevators and 8 service elevators were installed by the Otis company. The speed of the elevators was jacked up by a thousand two hundred feet per minute soon after the buildings opening.

Empire state building facts:

An iconic landmark of New York City it is situated at the 350 fifth avenue, between the 34th and 33rd streets. The godzilliac building has 102 floors. The architects who were immortalized with the construction of the building are Lamb, Shreve and Harmon Associates.

There are many numbers which find value in the height of this giant tower. The sum total of the height of the building and the lightning rod is an epic 1,454 feet. The steps of the building which span from the street level to the 102nd floor are 1,860 in all. Starrett Brothers and Eken were the builders who were contracted to erect the classic structure.
At half the cost!

The cost of the building was half of the expected cost due to the Great Depression of the times. The building incurred a cost of dollar 24,718,000 to construct. The total time in the making of the Empire state building New York was 7,000,000 man hours. The steel skeleton of the building took 57,000 tons of steel to build. The length of the telephone wire which is used up in the building is a mind boggling seventeen million feet.
Home to none!

Apparently no one lives in the building, the bathing facilities which are inadequate are to be blamed. The Empire State Building is filled with businesses and rentable office spaces. A major tourist attraction of New York City offers heavenly views from the observation decks situated in the 102nd and the 86th floors. The workers here have a ton of cleaning to do what with the 6,500 windows on the tower.

For visiting this epic building one can buy tickets at the site or online. Reaching early is recommended as there is a long wait for getting the tickets.