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Some facts on the Empire State Building

The Empire State Building, the tallest building in New York since Sept. 11, 2001, celebrates its 75th birthday May 1.
/ Source: Reuters

The Empire State Building, the tallest building in New York since Sept. 11, 2001, celebrates its 75th birthday May 1.

  • Excavation: Began Jan. 22, 1930.
  • Construction: Began March 17, 1930.
  • Design: By the architectural firm of Shreve, Lamb and Harmon.
  • Cornerstone: Original laid by former New York Gov. Alfred E. Smith Sept. 17, 1930.
  • Framework rose at a rate of 4 1/2 stories per week.
  • Construction time: One year and 45 days including Sundays and holidays (completed ahead of schedule).
  • Height: The building rises to 1,250 feet at the 102nd floor. Its total height is 1,454 feet (1,453 feet, 8 9/16th inches) to the top of the lightning rod.

Significant events
May 1, 1931 -
President Herbert Hoover presses a button in Washington, officially opening the building and turning on its lights.

July 28, 1945 - An Army Air Corps B-25 bomber crashes into the building at the 79th floor level. Fourteen people are killed as an 18-by-20 foot hole is gouged by the plane, and one of its engines ploughs through the building, emerging on the 33rd Street side. The structural integrity of the building is unaffected. Damage costs $1 million.

1986 - The building is recognized as a National Historic Landmark by the National Parks Services.

Nov. 1995 - Fifteen people are slightly injured and the building is evacauted when an electrical fire sent smoke spiralling from the basement.

Aug. 2004 - After the death of actress Fay Wray, star of the original 1930s film "King Kong," the building stood in complete darkness for 15 minutes.

Empire State and the movies
The building has figured in around 90 movies including "An Affair to Remember," "Sleepless in Seattle," "Manhattan," "On the Town," "Prisoner of Second Avenue," Superman II," and of course "King Kong" — the giant ape that climbed to the top clutching Fay Wray to escape his captors.