Empire State Building - Vintage Images


The iconic Empire State Building is one of the most remembered symbols of New York City. Its construction began on March 17, 1930, and it was officially opened on May 1, 1931. It was the world's tallest building until 1970, with 102 floors and 381 meters high. Its antenna, with 68 meters, was added in 1950.

It is located in Midtown Manhattan on the west side of Fifth Avenue, between West 33rd and 34th streets. The Empire State Building has two observation decks. The 86th floor has a 360° outdoor observation deck, while the 102nd floor has a smaller, indoor observation area with floor-to-ceiling windows on all sides.

Part of the site was occupied by the old Waldorf–Astoria Hotel. In 1928, the property was sold to to Bethlehem Engineering Corporation. In 1929, the Empire State Inc. was formed to construct the skyscraper. Alfred E. Smith, former Governor of New York, was the head of the corporation. The skyscraper was constructed with the direction of architects Shreve, Lamb & Harmon Associates and builders Starrett Bros. & Eken. The framework rose 4 ½ stories per week.


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Empire State Building



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Empire State Building


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Above, worker on Empire State Building, signaling the hookman in 1931 (photograph by Lewis Wickes Hine / NYPL). This Art Deco skyscraper was the tallest building in the world until 1970. It was constructed at dizzy speed by more than 3 thousand workers, some died during construction. As we can seen in the photograph, security was a luxury.



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Lecturer and visitors at the observation deck on the 86th-floor roof at a height of 320 meters. Photograph taken in 1936 (NYPL). Note: there was no protection in early times.


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Upper structure of the Empire State in 1953. The antenna, with 68 meters, was added in 1950. Photo by Angelo Rizzuto, Library of Congress.


More information about the Empire State Building


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Empire State Building at night. View from the World Trade Center during the 1980s. Photo by Carol Highsmith, source: Library of Congress.


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Empire State Building - Vintage Images