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Facts about the Empire State Building For Kids


  • The Empire State Building is a 102-story skyscraper located in New York City at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street.
  • It stood as the world’s tallest building for 40 years, from its completion in 1931 until construction of the World Trade Center’s North Tower was completed in 1972.
  • Following the September 11 attacks in 2001, the Empire State Building was again the tallest building in New York.
  • The Empire State Building was once again demoted to second-tallest building in New York on April 30, 2012, when the new One World Trade Center reached a greater height.
  • The Empire State Building is currently the third-tallest completed skyscraper in the United States (after the Willis Tower and Trump International Hotel and Tower, both in Chicago), and the 15th-tallest in the world (the tallest now is Burj Khalifa, located in Dubai).
  • The building and its street floor interior are designated landmarks of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, and confirmed by the New York City Board of Estimate.
  • Receiving a gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating in September 2011, the Empire State Building is the tallest LEED certified building in the United States.
  • The Empire State Building was designed by William F. Lamb from the architectural firm Shreve, Lamb and Harmon, which produced the building drawings in just two weeks, using its earlier designs for the Reynolds Building in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and the Carew Tower in Cincinnati, Ohio as a basis.
  • The building’s opening coincided with the Great Depression in the United States, and as a result much of its office space was initially unrented.
  • The fence around the observatory terrace was put up in 1947 after five people tried to jump during a three-week span.
  • On May 1, 1947, 23-year-old Evelyn McHale leapt to her death from the 86th floor observation deck and landed on a United Nations limousine parked at the curb.
  • Eckert’s body landed on the roof of the 86th floor observation promenade.
  • Elevator operator Betty Lou Oliver survived a plunge of 75 stories inside an elevator, which still stands as the Guinness World Record for the longest survived elevator fall recorded.
  • Atop the tower is the 203 ft (62 m) pinnacle, much of which is covered by broadcast antennas, with a lightning rod at the very top.
  • The lobby is three stories high and features an aluminum relief of the skyscraper without the antenna, which was not added to the spire until 1952.
  • Over 50 artists and workers used 15,000 square feet of aluminum and 1,300 square feet of 23-karat gold leaf to re-create the mural.
  • The building’s distinctive Art Deco spire was originally designed to be a mooring mast and depot for dirigibles.
  • The Empire State Building remained the tallest man-made structure in the world for 23 years before it was surpassed by the Griffin Television Tower Oklahoma (KWTV Mast) in 1954.
  • Broadcasting began at Empire on December 22, 1931, when RCA began transmitting experimental television broadcasts from a small antenna erected atop the spire.
  • Perhaps the most famous popular culture representation of the building is in the 1933 film King Kong, in which the title character, a giant ape, climbs to the top to escape his captors but falls to his death after being attacked by airplanes.
  • In the 2004 film Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, the building serves its original purpose of being a docking station for dirigibles, and the Hindenburg III docks at it on its maiden voyage.
  • In the children’s novel, James and the Giant Peach, at the end of the book the giant peach is dropped onto the lightning rod of the Empire State Building.