The Empire State Building, a 102-story and 9th tallest building in the world, was designed by Shreve, Lamb and Harmon Associates and built in 1931. The tower takes its name from the nickname of New York State and is the tallest building in New York City. The American Society of Civil Engineers declared the Empire State Building as one of the modern Seven Wonders of the World. The building also belongs to the World Federation of Great Towers.
The Empire State Building's construction was hurried to completion, in order to take the title of "world's tallest building" from the Chrysler Building. It remained the tallest building in the world for many years, until the construction of the World Trade Center, and shortly afterwards the Sears Tower. As of 2005, following the September 11, 2001 attacks, it is the 2nd tallest building in the United States, and the tallest in New York City.
The building's distinctive spire was originally designed to be a mast and depot for zeppelins. However, after a couple of brief attempts, the idea proved to be impractical and dangerous, due to the powerful updrafts caused by the size of the building itself.
The building rises to 1,250 feet or 381 m at the 102nd floor. The Empire State Building was officially opened on May 1, 1931. Much of the office space went unrented until the 1940s. This lack of inhabitance earned it the nickname "Empty State Building" in its early years. A broadcasting tower added in the 1950s brings the total height to 1,455 feet (443.5 m).
A public observatory at the top of the building offers impressive views of the city, and is a popular tourist destination. Floodlights illuminate the top of the building at night, in colors chosen to match seasonal and other events; they were red, white, and blue for several months after the destruction of the World Trade Center, then reverted to marking holidays.
The building weighs approximately 330,000 metric tonnes. The building has 6,500 windows, 73 elevators, and 1,860 steps to the top floor. Total floor area: 204,385 m sq. (2,200,000 ft sq.) It is located at 350 Fifth Avenue, ZIP Code 10118, between 33rd and 34th Streets, in Midtown, Manhattan, directly across from Weehawken Cove, on the other side of the Hudson River.
Although the lower floors occupy the entire block, there are various "setbacks" in the building's design, as required by law at the time, to prevent the building from casting quite such a large shadow on its neighbors.
The building stands on a block once occupied by the original Waldorf Hotel, a haven for The Four Hundred, the social elite of New York in the late 19th Century. Previous to that, the site had first been developed as the John Thomson Farm, in the late 18th century.