As the Empire State Building was going up so was the Chrysler Building. The completed height of the Chrysler Building remained a closely guarded secret.
Hamilton Weber, the original rental manager, described the tension: “We thought we would be the tallest at 80 stories. Then the Chrysler went higher, so we lifted the Empire State to 85 stories, but only four feet taller than the Chrysler. Raskob was worried that Walter Chrysler would pull a trick – like hiding a rod in the spire and then sticking it up at the last minute.”
The pressure was on. How could the height be increased? A docking station for airships, the elite cruisers of the era, was conceived. The new design for the Empire State Building, including the dirigible mooring mast, would make the building 1,250 tall, approximately 175 feet taller than the Chrysler Building. When you add in the height of the spire/mast, the building is 1,453 feet high.
Only one blimp ever docked at the Empire State Building, on September 16, 1931, before the idea was abandoned because it was too dangerous.