Ready, set, build it!
Late 1700s – A stream runs across the John Thompson Farm located on the site of the future Empire State Building.
Late 1800s – The original Waldorf Astoria Hotel is a favorite watering hole for the social elite of Manhattan, located on Fifth Avenue and 34th Street.
1929 - John Jakob Raskob and partners buy a parcel of land on 34th Street and Fifth Avenue, the site of the former Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Demolition begins.
January 21, 1930 – Excavation begins. Three hundred workers begin preparing the foundation of what will become the world’s tallest building.
March 17, 1930 – Construction officially begins as the steel skeleton is raised. Two-hundred and ten steel columns make up the vertical frame. Twelve of these run the entire height of the building.
May 1, 1931 – The Empire State Building is officially open. New York City Mayor Al Smith attends the ribbon cutting ceremony. The ESB holds the title of Tallest Building in the World for over 40 years.
1932 – The Great Depression causes a collapse in the demand for office space. The Empire State Building becomes known as “The Empty State Building.”
Saturday, July 28, 1945 – A B-25 bomber piloted in thick fog crashes into the north side of the building around the 79th and 80th floors. Despite damage and 14 fatalities, the building is open for business on Monday.
Early 1950s – The ESB is the most profitably leased building in NYC.
1964 – Floodlights are added to illuminate the top of the building at night, in colors chosen to match seasonal and other events.
1972 – The completion of the Twin Towers relegates the ESB to second tallest skyscraper in Manhattan.
1994 – NY Skyride, a motion simulated ride of an aerial tour over the city, is added on the building’s second floor.
September 11, 2001 – With the destruction of the Twin Towers, the ESB becomes the tallest building in Manhattan again.
2013 – Estimated completion of the Freedom Tower, now renamed One World Trade Center. ESB will once again be the second tallest building in the city.