25 Random Facts About the Empire State Building


The Empire State Building is one of the top ten destinations for U.S. travelers according to a study done by the National Park Service—and that's including total places across the country, not just spots in New York City. The observation deck receives about 4 million visitors each year, attracted by the spectacular 360-degree views of the city skyline.

What else makes the Empire State Building so special? Here are 25 random facts about this famous skyscraper:

1. On an annual basis, visitors to the Empire State Building represent every state in the U.S. and almost every country in the world.

2. Most people think of the ESB as a tourist attraction, but it was built as an office building and now features more than 2.7 million square feet of commercial space.

3. The Empire State Building was built on the original site of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, which has since moved over to Park Avenue.

4. The building itself contains more than 60 miles of water pipe and 60,000 tons of steel — that's enough to build double railroad tracks from NYC to Baltimore.

5. Amazingly, the Empire State Building was built with horse power rather than the cranes, mixing trucks, and other construction machines available today.

6. It was built 45 days ahead of schedule and $5 million under budget.

7. The ESB holds the world record for tallest building (by structural height) for longest period of time (for 42 years until it was surpassed by the North Tower of the World Trade Center in 1972).

8. Despite its world-class stature today, the building had difficulty attracting tenants when it was first completed, and was often ridiculed as the "Empty State Building."

9. The Empire State Building has 73 elevators that move through 7 miles of shafts.

10. The top of the building is occasionally left dark on foggy or rainy nights in the spring and fall to protect the 80 or so species of migratory birds that fly at lower altitudes in bad weather and might otherwise be attracted to the lights that illuminate the 72nd to 102nd floors and rush toward them like months to a flame.

Aluminum Relief Mural , Lobby of Empire State Building, NYC, USAPatti McConville/Alamy

11. This famous office tower has more than 6,500 windows, which must be washed on a continuing basis.

12. The top 30 floors are often bathed in colored lights to celebrate holidays throughout the year: red, white and blue for the 4th of July; green and red for Christmas, and so forth.

13. For a time, there were thoughts of turning the skyscraper into a dirigible "airport." Although these plans were abandoned, evidence of this scheme lives on in the observatory of the 86th floor (which was to hold the customer lounges, ticket agencies and baggage rooms) and the observation deck on the 102nd story (which was to be the mooring site).

14. The ESB is a National Historic Landmark.

15. The Empire State Building's famous Art Deco spire is visible throughout much of Manhattan.

16. The top of the spire serves a functional purpose as a broadcast antenna. In fact, since the September 11 terrorist attacks, nearly all of the city's commercial broadcast stations (both television and FM radio) have transmitted from the top of the Empire State Building.

17. The famous views are justifiable: on a clear day, 80 mile visibility allows you to see landmarks in all five boroughs, as well as Long Island, Connecticut and New Jersey.

18. In 1955 the American Society of Civil Engineers named the Empire State Building one of the Seven Modern Wonders of the Western Hemisphere.

The Empire State Building is more than just a view. It?s an immersive experience inside a world famous landmarknektarstock/Alamy

19. The building was also named the eighth Wonder of the World — the only one built in the 20th century.

20. The tower sits on a 2-acre lot.

21. Construction began just weeks after the Wall Street crash of 1929.

22. The speed of construction was remarkable even by current standards: in one 10-day period, 14 stories were added to the building.

23. After a $550 million renovation, the ESB received a gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating in September 2011, making it the tallest LEED certified building in the United States.

24. The Empire State Building is immortalized in at least 90 movies, including King Kong and Sleepless in Seattle.

25. The observation deck is open 365 days a year, from 8 a.m. until 2 a.m. Nighttime is actually a great time to visit: not only will you avoid the usual long lines and crushing crowds, but the city skyline will appear even more magical in all of its twinkling glory — and the neon of Times Square is extra amazing.

Victoria Otto Franzese is a proud New Yorker who owned, operated, and wrote for a successful online travel guide for 15 years. Now, thankfully, all of her travel is purely for fun. See where she's traveling next at @VOFranzese.

Victoria's other posts include: 10 Fun Free Things to Do in New York City, 5 Best New York City Activities for Teenagers and Top Five Pizza Places in New York City.