EMPIRE STATE BUILDING, INTRODUCTION

Audio File length: 2.26
English / USA Language: English / USA

Hi, my name’s Scott, and I’m your personal guide. Along with MyWoWo, I’d like to welcome you to one of the Wonders of the World: the Empire State Building.

The Empire State Building, one of the greatest New York landmarks, is undoubtedly the city’s most famous skyscraper. With its linear, austere silhouette, embellished with just a few Art Deco details, it cannot, however, be considered one of the most charming buildings on the New York skyline.

This striking 443-meter-high building owes its fame not just to its record height – for over 30 years, from 1931 to 1967, it was the world’s tallest building – but to how quickly it was built, in less than two years. It was also the first building to have over 100 floors – 103 to be precise – although it was initially meant to only have around 80.

It was the fierce competition between builders at the time to raise the world’s tallest tower that led to the decision to add more floors, in order to beat the nearby Chrysler Building.

The incredibly fast pace of the construction work, with an average completion of four floors a week, was maintained thanks to the efforts not only of immigrant laborers from countries such as Italy and Ireland, but also of native Mohawk men from a Canadian reserve, endowed with an exceptional sense of balance, who proved particularly capable of rising to this architectural challenge.

The best time to admire the skyscraper is at night, when the top 30 floors are spectacularly lit up in different colors each day, following a detailed program depending on local, national or international events. And if you like, you too can book a specific type of illumination to mark an important occasion, although it might be an expensive way to celebrate!

AN INTERESTING FACT: the imposing spire at the top was originally designed as a docking station for airships that would allow lucky passengers to disembark at the terrace below, today used as an observatory. Just once did a Zeppelin succeed in such an arduous undertaking, however, and the idea was abandoned in favor of the installation of a much more practical long metal mast used for antennas, lights and broadcast relay stations, as well as a lightning rod.

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