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NYC's Empire State Building: A Must-See For Students

Sep 4, 2007
One of the tallest building in the world, New York City's Empire State Building remains among the most impressive structures on the planet and with more than 3 million visitors a year, one of New York's top tourist attractions.

Students and teachers alike will find the building, erected on the grounds of the original Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, a memorable part of their trip to the Big Apple. The project was a collaboration between four wealthy New York businessmen, including John Jakob Raskob, who had a significant role in the creation of General Motors. In fact, the building of the structure had another automotive connection in that Raskob was in competition with Walter Chrysler to create the world's tallest building.

Empire State, Inc. was formed in 1929 with that feat in mind and construction began on the new building on March 17, 1930 with the Empire State Building celebrating an official opening on May 1, 1931. It took just one year and 45 days to build the new skyscraper and the building's 102 floors made it the World's Tallest Building from that day until 1972.

From the time construction began in 1930, the building's steel frame rose at an average rate of four and a half floors per week. To speed construction, posts, beams, windows and window frames were made in factories and put together on the site. Some 60,000 tons of steel was brought in from steel mills in Pennsylvania, over 300 miles away, by train, barges and trucks.

William Lamb of Shreve, Lamb & Harmon was the architect for the Empire State Building, his design influenced by the perpendicular style of Eliel Saarinen. Most of his design was based on a simple pencil with its clean, soaring lines. Lamb decided that the columns of stone would be easier to put up if they were separated from the windows with metal strips. The fact that they covered the stone's edges meant the stone could be rough-cut at the quarry and then heaved into place without any final cutting or fitting, another time saver.

By October 3, 1930, a full 88 floors were completed, with only 14 top floors remaining. Those floors were a distinctive tower of glass, steel, and aluminum about 200 ft. high and topped with a dome.

On May 1st, 1931, President Hoover pressed a button in Washington, D.C. that officially opened the Empire State Building, turning on its lights.

The Empire State Building has been host to important dignitaries and political and entertainment figures and the observation deck has been the site for many movie scenes. Movie fans will remember that King Kong even toured the building--from the outside. Among the many films that featured the Empire State Building were Annie Hall, the French Connection, Guys and Dolls, Independence Day, Serpico, Superman II, Taxi Driver, and When Harry Met Sally.

Today, visitors to the Empire State Building are whisked by high speed elevator to the 86th floor open-air observatory, where they can enjoy a view of up to 80 miles, including many of the sites for which New York City has become famous.

In 1986, the Empire State Building was recognized as a National Historic Landmark. It is seen today as an "Ambassador to New York" to many of the world's renowned political and entertainment figures.
About the Author
Travel Adventures is staffed by educators who understand the needs of teachers. Serving over one half million students since our inception, we provide hassle-free travel arrangements while empowering teachers to create change by expanding the classroom to the world. Our experienced team of travel professionals is dedicated to exceeding your student travel expectations.
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