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Last Updated: Monday, 1 May 2006, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
NY Empire State Building turns 75
Empire State Building and Manhattan skyline
The building was built at a rate of around four floors a week
One of New York's most famous landmarks, the Empire State Building, is celebrating its 75th birthday.

It opened in 1931 during America's Great Depression and took just 13 months to construct.

For 40 years, it was the world's tallest building until the World Trade Center was built and is once again New York City's highest structure.

The building has often attracted Hollywood, and was famously captured on celluloid in the 1933 King Kong film.

More than 3,000 workers were employed in its construction which provided jobs during a time of great unemployment.

Fourteen immigrant workers were killed during the operation.

The building's spire was originally supposed to be a mooring point for air ships, but the idea was quickly abandoned as dangerous.

EMPIRE STATE BUILDING
1453 feet (443m) high
102 floors
1,860 steps
Almost 110m visitors since 1931
Struck by lightning 100 times a year

The composer George Gershwin wrote Rhapsody in Rivets especially for the opening ceremony.

The building was in the headlines just last week after a man attempted to parachute from the 86th floor.

The top tier is often bathed in floodlights to celebrate events from Valentine's Day to 4 July.

On Monday, the lights will be white just as they were when the building first opened for business.


Below are some of your memories of, and visits to, the Empire State Building:

Travel tip: You can buy tickets on the internet, which saves you queuing for 45 minutes.
Andy Grogan, Amsterdam

When I was a young musician around 1966 I went to the top of the Empire State Building to contemplate the meaning of life. Staring down at all those millions of people piled on top of each other, I decided to leave New York forever and go west to California to find a new and less congested life where at least the soot did not seem as large as baseballs. I never regretted that decision.
Lance Wakely, Krakow, Poland, formerly New York City

I went to New York City to celebrate New Years, two years ago. The next day I went to the Empire State Building for the first time. It took somewhere around two hours to get to the top, but it was worth every minute.
Debbie, Plattsburgh, New York

I went there for the first time this March. The northern edge view to Central Park is the most amazing of all. It's worth nothing that almost 100,000,000 people have had the privilege of seeing one of the most amazing cities in the world from above.
Erfan, Newark, DE, USA/Tehran, Iran

I grew up in New York City and have been to this gorgeous building countless times, each one becoming a new and exciting experience. There isn't another one like it. I remember my cousins from Sheffield who came over about six years ago. While waiting for the tickets to go up, only I noticed that the visibility limit had decreased by 10 miles. No matter, we went up anyway, even brought lunch with us. Well after a 360 degree viewing we sat down to eat. No sooner had we started, a freak snowstorm came in! No where else could this happen I said. It just added to our experience. What memories!!!
Maureen O'Connell, Yonkers NY, USA

I love the Empire State Building. It is a beautiful building, and it means so many things. To me, it is a symbol of America, just as much as the Statue of Liberty, or the Golden Gate Bridge. New York is the archetype American city, full of life and different and vibrant cultures and peoples. This building was built by immigrants, people who made up America, and, as the (previously) tallest building in the world, it is a symbol of America's ambition and might. A symbol of what we Americans can do. Since my grandparents live in New York, going to visit them always means a trip to the ESB. So it also means family to me. That is why I love the Empire State Building.
Naveen, Sacramento, USA

I had seen the Empire State Building numerous times on Indian cinema, but being there in person was an entirely different matter. I have visited it a few times since then, as a must-see landmark while showing friends around New York. Experiencing the strong winds on the top floor is simply wonderful; and this is something most tall buildings in Chicago and elsewhere in the world don't offer.
Arjun Rangarajan, Madras, India

I was six when Dad took us to the top, my brothers and sisters. Such a view. I snuck a penny out of my pocket and hurled it over the side, toward the street, and to this day I dread the thought it hit someone. I am 60.
Pete Jussel, Santa Cruz, California

I asked my wife to marry me on the 86th floor in 1997. Went back in 2003 but they still have not put a plaque up to mark the spot! (Still happily married)
Kevin Darby, Chelmsford

The speed at which this building was erected was phenomenal. In our present-day world, when building projects seem to go on and on, the 15 months schedule, from the excavation to its official opening, is very impressive. It is a beautiful building. Beats hands-down the sterile glass cubes that succeeded it. On my first visit to the top floor in the early 1970s one could make a 45 rpm recording for a souvenir on a transcription unit made in England.
John Davis, Philadelphia, U.S./Manchester, England

I have been to the Empire State Building twice, once in the summer and the other in winter, both visits were brilliant, you cant beat the view. When I went in the winter it was very strange to see snow drifts and parts of the outside observation closed due to several feet of snow. Would always recommend this to anyone visiting NYC.
Paul, Rochdale, UK

Ever since I was a boy I have always wanted to go up the Empire State Building, after seeing the new King Kong film last year I was inspired once again. Just last week I made my first visit to NY for my friends 30th and our first port of call was to visit this magnificent building. it was amazing, everything I hoped it would be. We spent nearly 2 hours taking in the awesome view from the top, I cant wait to go back again.
Andrew Topping, Glasgow, Scotland

I was 13-years-old and my mom, dad and I were on the quintessential 1960s station wagon road trip across the United States, starting from our home in Los Angeles. As we neared New York City, we came over a rise. There was the Empire State Building, gleaming in the low morning sun and silhouetted against black storm clouds. Suddenly a finger of lightning came out of the darkened sky and arced to the spire of the Empire State Building. It was a dramatic, magnificent introduction to a dramatic and magnificent building, and I will never forget it.
Beth Johnson, Delta, BC, Canada

I've never been there. But I've seen the movie called "Sleepless Seatle" for more than two or three times! I do really hope the kiss I give to my future girlfriend can happen there. Most marvellous building in the world! Happy Birthday!
Roger, Taichung, Taiwan

We visited New York shortly after 9/11. They reopened the Empire State just that weekend. The plume of smoke from the still burning remains of the World Trade centre put an eerie chill on the otherwise magnificent view.
Peter Smith, Cary

I've only returned home to Dublin from New York but when I was there I visited the top of the Empire State Building but was soon evacuated by security and police after some chap attempted to parachute himself off the building. I watched confusingly yet impressively as he swiftly swung himself aerobically over the tall bars but before he could jump off the building a security guy threw his arm past the bars and held on to him and shouted for more assistance. I stayed there as long as I could with other amused tourists until a policeman warned us we'd be arrested if we didn't clear off. As we we're leaving fire men were arriving with a net and what looked like a harpoon!
Peter, Dublin, Ireland




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See archive footage of the skyscraper being built



SEE ALSO:
Stuntman tries Empire State leap
28 Apr 06 |  Americas


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