Sunset in New York City, from the Empire Estate Building. Aerial panoramic view of Manhattan.
The Empire State Building is a 102-story[c] Art Deco skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Designed by Shreve, Lamb & Harmon and completed in 1931, the building has a roof height of 1,250 feet (380 m) and stands a total of 1,454 feet (443.2 m) tall, including its antenna. Its name is derived from "Empire State", the nickname of New York, which is of unknown origin. As of 2017 the building is the 5th-tallest completed skyscraper in the United States and the 28th-tallest in the world. It is also the 6th-tallest freestanding structure in the Americas.
The site of the Empire State Building, located on the west side of Fifth Avenue between West 33rd and 34th Streets, was originally part of an early 18th century farm. In the late 1820s, it came into the possession of the prominent Astor family, with John Jacob Astor's descendants building the Waldorf–Astoria Hotel on the site in the 1890s. The hotel remained in operation until the late 1920s, when it was sold to the Bethlehem Engineering Corporation in 1928 for an estimated $20m. Following this sale, the property changed hands once more, coming under the ownership of Empire State Inc., a business venture that included famous businessman and former General Motors executive, John J. Raskob, members of the du Pont family, and former New York governor Al Smith, who was tasked with heading the corporation. The original design of the Empire State Building was for a 50-story office building. However, after fifteen revisions, the final design was for an 86-story 1,250-foot building, with an airship mast on top. This ensured it would be the world's tallest building, beating the Chrysler Building and 40 Wall Street, two other Manhattan skyscrapers under construction at the time that were also vying for that distinction.
Demolition of the Waldorf–Astoria began in October 1929, and the foundation of the Empire State Building was excavated before demolition was even complete. Construction on the building itself started on March 17, 1930, with an average construction rate of four and a half floors per week. A well-coordinated schedule meant that the 86 stories were topped out on September 19, six months after construction started, and the mast was completed by November 21. From that point, interior work proceeded at a quick pace, and it was opened on May 1, 1931, thirteen and a half months after the first steel beam was erected. In a ceremony held in Washington D.C., President Herbert Hoover officially opened the Empire State Building to the public, remotely pressing a button that illuminated the building's iconic lights. Despite the publicity surrounding the building's construction, its owners failed to make a profit until the early 1950s. However, since its opening, the building's Art Deco architecture and open-air observation deck has made it a popular tourist attraction, with around 4 million visitors from around the world visiting the building's 86th and 102nd floor observatories every year. Since the mid-2010s, the Empire State Building has been undergoing improvements to improve access to its observation decks.
The Empire State Building stood as the world's tallest building for nearly 40 years until the completion of the World Trade Center's North Tower in Lower Manhattan in late 1970. Following the September 11 attacks in 2001, it was again the tallest building in New York until the new One World Trade Center was completed in April 2012.
The Empire State Building is an American cultural icon and has been featured in more than 250 TV shows and movies since the film King Kong was released in 1933. A symbol of New York City, the tower has been named as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. The Empire State Building and its ground-floor interior have been designated as a city landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, and were confirmed as such by the New York City Board of Estimate. It was also designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986, and was ranked number one on the American Institute of Architects' List of America's Favorite Architecture in 2007.
Overview and HistoryNew York was invented by time-traveling punks from across the galaxy so they could show up there in 1977, smash some guitars and then overdose on heroin to die in the East Village, according to prophecy.The historic origins of the city go back to long before the American Revolution. Let's take a quick look at what it is before we look at what it looks like in panoramas.New York City sits on the island of Manhattan. Manhattan, you will notice, is not only an island situated between two rivers perfect for easy transportation to the Atlantic Ocean -- it's also an Indian word!Like lots of New England states and towns, its lineage comes from the "Indians" who lived there first. White people learned those names and kept them, for example Massachusetts, Connecticut, Manhattan, Chesapeake. Go out to the small towns in the greater New York or Tri-State area and you'll find even more names like Massapequa, Hammonasset, Ronkonkoma, Montauk, Quinnipiac, etc. And of course Mohawk, which comes into play later around 1977.So, let's keep it sanitized for posterity. The white people came and the Indians left. How do you like that? Legend has it that white settlers bought the island of Manhattan for $26; obviously the contracting party on the other end had no idea what real estate connections were all about. Early pilgrims cited the Bible as their mandate for taking over what lands they found in "the new world". (They decided that, since "the Indians" had not subdued the land, it was free for the taking. File this away in the "karmic repurcussions" folder.)The point is, New York City sits on a bunch of islands. An archipelago, if you will. An island just off the coast of Europe, if you want to comment on how different NYC is from the rest of the United States. Bird's eye view: you've got Manhattan, Staten Island and Long Island, which hosts both Brooklyn and Queens.The south end of Manhattan is where New York City started. Once upon a time there were deer, owls, hawks and trees covering the entire island. Gradually it filled in with farms and, much later, low-income apartment buildings. Manhattan is now bridged to the western end of Long Island by the Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge, the Williamsburg bridge and the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. Take the Williamsburg bridge across from the east village to find where the artists went after the East Village got to be too. friggin. expensive. for. anybody. to. really. live. here. dammit. Go ahead!, check out the cost of living in New York yourself if you want.Anyway, as European settlers filled in the space, New York City grew up and took over the entire Hudson Bay area including Connecticut and New Jersey (Tri-State area).Contrary to intuitive belief, NYC is not the capital of New York State. Albany is the capital but nobody ever goes there except to do realllly big deals, so don't worry about it. New York's nickname is "The Empire State" and for all purposes, NYC is the jewel in the Empire's crown.Back to downtown in Tribeca (Triangle Below Canal Street) -- you will find two distinctly different layouts. One side of this southern tip of the island was built by the Dutch, the other half by the English.The Dutch side has twisting streets with lots of triangular central, um, squares that are hell on the novice bike messenger to find. The English side sports long avenues connecting evenly spaced parallel streets, a grid like what you see in midtown among the "number streets." What does that say about the worldview of these two groups at the time? See, already New York is intriguing. What else is going on there?Here are the essential neighborhoods to cover, if you want to have even the most awkwardly cursory view of the city. This is going from south to north. For scale, it's about five miles from the southern tip to the south edge of Central Park at 59th street.The financial district (Wall Street, etc), Tribeca, Chinatown.SoHo, Greenwich Village, East Village, Meat Packing District.Flatiron and Murray Hill merge upwards into Hell's Kitchen (best food in midtown), and Times Square and then Central Park.From there it's all Upper East Side and Upper West Side until you get to Spanish Harlem, Harlem, and The Bronx.Off to the East of Manhattan there's Brooklyn and Queens, both of which could take up a thousand pictures, and to the west side there's New Jersey. The East River and Hudson River border Manhattan to either side and if you can't figure out which side the Hudson is on, I can't help you.If you just go to New York City and eat one meal in each of the above neighborhoods, you will have done an excellent job of seeing what this megalopolis has to offer. Many people make the mistake of going to NYC for a week and spending five days in Times Square. Don't let this be you. You can find food from anywhere in the world in New York and it's a crime against modern civilization not to do so.Getting ThereOh boy. Three airports, which are all connected to a greater or lesser degree by taxi drivers who are completely cool and professional on the inside, and you can't tell that by looking. It's a yellow river of taxis but you are not at their mercy if you can afford a helicopter ride to where you're going! Ha ha! You can't! And get used to it!!!Everything about NYC is either a celebration of your wealth, or a celebration of not having any. Not to worry, there's an equal amount of fun to be had regardless of which end of the spectrum you're on. (That amount=MORE THAN YOU HAVE TIME FOR...)Okay, the airports are JFK (John F. Kennedy International), LaGuardia and Newark International. Getting between Manhattan and JFK airport usually means a private limousine or a taxi, because the public transportation is not so hot there. There is the Airtrain on the subway line that goes there, just make sure you get on the right train.LaGuardia airport is closer to the city center and you can get there on a bus without much trouble, if you have learned how to move around on the subway system and you don't mind standing on the street up in Harlem with all your stuff.Newark International Airport is the easiest to get to because you can take a train right from the subway system at 34th Street in Manhattan and get off inside the airport at your departure terminal, and it looks high-tech the whole way. Check here for prices and schedules.TransportationThe subway (MTA) is a great way to get around New York when you're on foot for day trips, commuting, whatever.The only caution is to remember that you can walk ten blocks a lot more easily than waiting underground. One ride costs $2 with the mandatory Metrocard. Tokens are in the museum now, next to the dinosaur teeth. No more tokens. Here's a subway map, have fun!People and CultureAre you kidding? People and Culture in New York might as well be "People and Culture of Planet Earth". Somebody from everywhere lives here and they all keep their native languages and recipes, then learn English so they can open a restaurant, all to YOUR benefit as soon as you figure out which neighborhood you want to go explore tonight.There are a few sayings about people in NYC. First, "people in new york are either 100% real or 100% fake." This might be true, depending who you ask.Second, "New Yorkers are the nicest people in the world.. you just have to force them to be nice." (because they're always in a hurry). This is definitely true.Culture here? You've got film, fashion, music, food, fine art, dance, theater, you name it. Every art form you can think of, including the art of making lots of money, is flaunted on the city streets. Also fun stuff like sex, drugs, arson, murder and stealing are thriving here at the apex of their popularity. Think class division and you'll be standing tip-toe on the ice berg's lurking point.Things to do & RecommendationsNo swimming buddy, not in the rivers. Check out the beaches on Long Island for that, get there by train LIRR. Robert Moses State Park is my recommendation.A great "new yorky" thing to do is to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and get an amazing view of the Statue of Liberty, Manhattan skyline and Brooklyn.There's really no way to encapsulate the life of this city in a few recommendations but I'll try.Grimaldi's Pizza in Brooklyn's DUMBO neighborhood: Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass. Go there. Eat pizza. Die happy.3rd Ward Art Space for Brooklyn wareouse type parties and also studio space.In Times Square, take a bicycle taxi to get around, see things and hear a real insider's report on where to go not to get ripped off.Meat Packing District for nightlife, start here.Curry In A HurryMiss Mamie's Spoonbread TooIt's abominable how much I am leaving out. Please forgive me, New York!!! Text by Steve Smith.