90 years ago on May 1st, 1931
The Empire State Building officially opens for business
It became the tallest building in the world until the completion of the World Trade Center's North Tower over 40 years later. Led by former New York state governor Alfred E. Smith, construction began on March 17, 1930 on the site where the Waldorf Astoria once stood. 410 days later, the 102-story building was finished. Compare this to the 615 day construction time for the Chrysler Building, which had opened the previous year. At the ribbon-cutting, a ceremonial lighting of the lobby lights was performed by President Hoover via telegraph from the White House in Washington D.C., with the President stating that the building "must long remain one of the outstanding glories of a great city." Back in 2016, the building lit up like a birthday candle to celebrate its 85th anniversary, but there isn't always such a celebration with special lighting.
Did you know? On a clear day from the top of the ESB, you can see New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.