Construction on the Empire State Building began only a few weeks before the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and took only 19 months to complete. During the Depression, it was known as the “Empty State Building,” and the owners relied on admissions from the Observation Deck to pay their taxes. Today, the building is the fourth tallest in the world, standing 102 stories and 1,250-feet high, or 1,454-feet high at the top of the antenna on the roof. On a clear day, you can see more than 50 miles from the observation decks (on the 86th and 102nd floors) and portions of four different states.
- At night, the top 30 floors are illuminated with colored lights that change colors with the seasons and special events. Red, white, and blue colors are used for the 4th of July, red and green are used at Christmas, and green is used at St. Patrick’s Day. Blue and white were used to announce the Yankees victory in the World Series in 1999. The lights are turned off on foggy nights during the spring and fall migratory bird season so the birds don’t get confused by the diffused light and crash into the building.
- Static electricity buildup is so mammoth on top of the Empire State Building that, under the right conditions, if you stick your hand through the observatory fence, St. Elmo’s fire will stream from your fingertips. Lovers who kiss up there may find their lips crackling with electric sparks!
- The Empire State Building has been used in many movies: it was climbed by “King Kong,” became the setting for romance in “An Affair to Remember” and “Sleepless in Seattle,” was flown around by “Superman,” and was blown up in “Independence Day.”