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New York is believed to be the world’s oldest city and this aspect makes it a historic place that attracts tourists and locals. The booming economy of this city is anchored on its well established infrastructure and the availability of social amenities that attract investors from across the world. Most people were attracted to this city because they believed it was cosmopolitan and thus there were high chances that all products and services were available in its business establishments.1
In addition, this place is located in the heart of America and surprisingly lacks political interests. Therefore, it was able to attract stakeholders in the business field because of its peaceful environment.
Historians believe that this is the only city in America that experienced less workers’ strikes even though it was the hub of its economy. Most analysts are usually puzzled by the magic effect of New Yorkers that ensured they protected their city with zeal and zest.2 This discussion explores the historical and architectural aspects of the Empire State Building.
The great depression of the 1920s that America experienced gave few investors opportunities to expand their business operations and this is where the history of this building starts.3 Most rich people suffered a significant loss after the market rice of their shares in the stock market slumped. Most people had bought shares on margins and the results of the fall of the Dow Jones Stock house meant that they lost their money.
The economy of America was devastated and it was impossible for people to make a major investment in the construction industry. In addition, America was involved in conflicts with other countries like Germany and Japan and its citizens were reluctant to invest in real property. Lastly, the Second World War was beckoning and it is very surprising that despite the destruction suffered during the First World War, nothing held back the construction of this building.4
The building was constructed on a farm that housed a hotel frequented by the elites of this city. This was a very prestigious place and only the rich and influential New Yorkers were allowed in the hotel. It was a ‘members only’ recreational center and this earned it public scorn for open discrimination and creating classes in New York. Most of these rich people came from Indiana and that is why the limestone for this building came from this region.
It is surprising that William F. Lamb of the Shreve, Lamb and Harmon Construction Company produced the plan for this building within two weeks after he was contacted. A 103 story building plan ought to have taken at least two months to be completed. However, this architect managed to do this within two weeks yet the results of his work are incredible.
This earned this company world recognition and annual gifts and flowers continue to trickle in William’s office. In addition, the design of this building started from the top and ended with the foundation as opposed to the traditional down-up approach.5 Moreover, this building took less than 500 days to be completed and this makes it a tourist attraction site because it disapproves the laws of nature.
It is surprising also that most of the 3,400 workers were immigrants from Europe when the locals were in dire financial constraints due to the effects of the Great Depression. Critics do not understand why this building was constructed from immigrants from Europe yet this continent was at war with America. Most workers were unlawfully sacked and this made some of them to commit suicide by jumping from top flows.
In addition, this building has seen more than 30 people committing suicide and unconfirmed report shows that about 18 of them died while it was under construction.6 Lewis Wickes Hine provided important information about the plight of workers on this site through his photos.
Most people believe that the construction of this building was fastened because the owners and constructors wanted it to be the tallest in New York. There was competition for this title from 40 Wall Street and Chrysler Building that were also under construction during this time.
The most memorable event in the history of this building is that it was officially opened by President Herbert Hoover by a switching on its lights (with the push of a button) while seated in his office in Washington. However, this does not mean that this president was in good terms with the stakeholders of this building. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s victory over Hoover was celebrated by the installation and switching on of the building’s tower lights.
Critics claim that the building was not fully occupied for a long time after completion because investors had lost a lot of money in the stock market. In addition, it was located from the major public transport terminals (Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal) and this means that it was very far from the public.
The 1945 plane crash that led to the death of 14 people forms part of the dark history of this building.7 The 2012 shootings involving the police, Jeffrey T. Johnson and his co-worker led to the death of two people and injured several others. This building held a 42 year record as the world’s tallest building between 1925 and 1967.
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The modern cinema and film industry uses this building’s observation deck to promote their productions. Films like An Affair to Remember and Sleepless in Seattle are some of the productions that capture the attractive view offered by this building.
Most people expected this building not to last for long because it was completed within a very short time than is possible for its type.8 In addition, critics and the public expected it to have an old fashioned architectural presentation that did not pay attention for the need to maintain high structural and cultural values.9 However, their perceptions were proved wrong when it was completed. The surprises started during its opening when the lights were switched on from Washington, D.C. by President Hoover.
The full height of this building is 1,453 feet and it has 83 stories most of which are commercial and office spaces. The observation decks of the 86th floor offer a scenic view of the entire city and give viewers the rare chance of feeling the magnificent value of design and fun. The presence of the Art Deco tower in 16 stories makes this building a magnificent construction. Broadcast antennas surrounded by automatic lighting systems decorate the very top of this building.
The presence of 6,500 windows allow light to penetrate to all rooms and thus makes the building to shine during daytime.10 In addition, its 73 elevators ensure people move easily from one floor to another. The building has 1,860 steps to reduce congestion in elevators and offer alternatives to those that are afraid of speed and heights. Its base is about 2 acres. The elevators are high speed and this means that users take a few seconds to get to its top floor.
This floor is unique because it has a gift shop that enables users to select their favorites from a list of the known prestigious presents.11 In addition, the architectural design and other important aspects of this building are exhibited in a room on this floor. The whole building is heated by a low-pressure steam that regulates the temperature of the rooms, corridors, elevators and steps to ensure workers are in a favorable environment.
Its electrical system has been overdesigned to create room for future adjustments. This ensures new owners can change the design of their rooms without interfering with its tensile strength and altering its plan. It has a stainless steel canopy and glass enclosed bridges at the entrance that make it magnificent and attractive to visitors. Its unique eight illuminated panels on its north corridor make it peculiar. Its top is illuminated by floodlights with different colors that match important events in America’s history.
The signal transmission mast at the top of this building makes it unique and replaced the anticipated airstrip that proved impractical and risky.12 Its observation decks are regarded as the most popular world outdoor viewpoints because its 86th floor offers a 360-degree view of New York City.
Another observation deck can be found on the building’s 102nd floor. The second floor has motion simulators that complement the aesthetic value of this building. These decks have five entrance lines that generate income for the building which is more than what it gets from renting its space.
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Amory L., “A Farewell to Fossil Fuels”, The New York Times, April, 2012, 19.
Barron, J., “Overhead, a Lobby is Restored to Old Glory”, The New York Times, September, 2009, 21.
Bascomb, N., Higher: A Historic Race to the Sky and the Making of a City, New York: Doubleday, 2003, 71.
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De Moraes, L., “Spike TV’s ‘Last Family on Earth’: Coming to a Bunker near You”, Washington Post, June, 2012, 88.
Goldman, J., The Empire State Building Book, New York, St. Martin’s Press, 2009, 59.
James, T., The Empire State Building, New York, Harper and Row, 2010, 99.
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Wells, C., “Empire State Building Lights Up to Broadcast Election Results”, Daily News, November, 2012, 39.
1 Charles, Wells, “Empire State Building Lights Up to Broadcast Election Results”, Daily News, November, 2012, 39.
2 Nathan, Aaseng, Construction: Building the Impossible, Minneapolis, MN, The Oliver Press, Inc, 2013, 33-51.
3 John, Tauranac, The Empire State Building: The Making of a Landmark, New York, Cornell University Press, 2014, 45-46.
4 Lovins, Amory, “A Farewell to Fossil Fuels”, The New York Times, April, 2012, 19.
5 Joseph, Lelyvel, “The Empire State to Glow at Night”, The New York Times, July, 2010, 21.
6James, Barron, “Overhead, a Lobby is Restored to Old Glory”, The New York Times, September, 2009, 21.
7 Mark, Kingwell, Nearest Thing to Heaven: The Empire State Building and American Dreams, New Haven, Yale University Press, 2006, 89.
8 Neal, Bascomb, Higher: A Historic Race to the Sky and the Making of a City, New York: Doubleday, 2003, 71.
9 Theodore, James, The Empire State Building, New York, Harper and Row, 2010, 99.
10 Owen, Covington, “A Look at the Historic Reynolds Building”, The Business Journal, January, 2012, 50.
11 Jonathan, Goldman, The Empire State Building Book, New York, St. Martin’s Press, 2009, 59.
12 Lisa, De Moraes, “Spike TV’s ‘Last Family on Earth’: Coming to a Bunker near You”, Washington Post, June, 2012, 88.