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Here’s a facts about the Empire State Building – it was built by Mohawk Skywalkers, it was the scene of infamous suicides, it had a Zeppelin docking station, it had a record-breaking 75 story elevator plunge and us the star of iconic movies – there is a lot more facts to this Art Deco icon that meets the eye.
Fact #1 To make it taller than the Chrysler Building the pinnacle was intended to be a dock for European airships. This was never achieved due to the blasting winds, but the pinnacle did result in it becoming the tallest skyscraper.
Fact #2 Hundreds of Mohawk ‘iron-men’ built the Empire State along with many of Manhattans iconic landmarks. They were reputed to be the fastest, strongest and most courageous iron-men. The sign outside their local bar in Brooklyn which was named the Wigwam Bar read, “The Greatest Iron Workers in the World Pass Thru These Doors”.
Fact #3 This was risky work. Balancing 1000 feet in the air with no harnesses 4-man gangs had a heater, a sticker-in, a bucker-up, and a riveter. 8 pound red hot rivets were thrown, caught and forced into the steel skeleton.
Fact #4 Lewis Hine took this amazing series of photographs of the workers from a basket 1,000 feet above Fifth Avenue.
Fact #5 By the time it opened in 1931 the USA was in the Depression. The central elevators meant that all rooms had windows which was intended to appeal to office renters. But three-quarters of its office space could not be rented out which earned it the nickname: the “Empty State Building”.
Fact #6 In the classic 1933 film, King Kong captures Fay Wray and climbs to the top but falls to his death. After Wray’s death, the building switched its lights off for 15 minutes in tribute.
Fact #7 In 1945, a plane crashed through it killing fourteen people but amazingly the elevator operator survived a 75-story plunge to the ground. You can see the news footage here:
Fact #8 In 1947, Evelyn McHale leapt from the 86th floor in what TIME magazine dubbed ‘The Most Beautiful Suicide’. She landed on a limousine where a passing photographer captured this scene.
Fact #9 The 86th and 102nd floor observation decks featured in the films ‘An Affair To Remember’ and ‘Sleepless in Seattle’. The Andy Warhol film ‘Empire’ shows 8 hours of the Empire State lit up at night.
Fact #10 The urban myth that if you drop a coin from the Empire State it could kill someone or make a crater was disproved by Discovery Channel’s ‘Mythbusters’ although it did reach a top speed of 65 mph (105 km/h).
Fact #11 In 1949 interview with the New Yorker a Mohawk iron-worker named Orvis Diabo said of his time building Manhattan’s skyscrapers: “I heated a million rivets. When they talk about the men that built this country, one of the men they mean is me”.
Fact #12 In 1979, Elvita Adams jumped from the 86th floor of the Empire State Building in an attempted suicide, only to be blown back onto the 85th floor by a gust of wind. Her only injury was a broken hip.
Fact #13 You can see a short film about the building of the Empire State here: