New Experience at the Empire State Building

In its 80th anniversary year, the Empire State Building unveiled Monday a new, permanent exhibit that captures its history, engineering and construction. Curated by Carol Willis of New York City’s Skyscraper Museum, the installation is located on the 80th floor of the office building.

“As part of our more than $550 million Empire State ReBuilding program, we have completely upgraded our Observatory experience,” said Anthony E. Malkin of Empire State Building Company.

With content from The Skyscraper Museum’s archives, the exhibit illustrates three main themes:

Speed: Construction took only 11 months from the setting of the tower’s first steel columns on April 7, 1930, to the completed building by March 31, 1931–a full month before the official opening ceremonies on May 1, 1931.

Scale: Gigantic in every dimension, the tower required immense amounts of materials and equipment to build what is still one of the tallest and largest man made structures in the world

Steel: The building’s steel frame was intricately designed with remarkable proportions

The exhibit shares numerous facts as well as reproductions of photos and mementos of the more than 3,400 workers. Documents include photographs, architectural sketches and renderings, construction notes, and daily bookkeeping documents presented on a series of photomurals, banners, two panels and seven stands. The exhibit uses the windows of the building to show views from 1931.

Soaring 1,454 feet (from base to antenna) above Midtown Manhattan, the Empire State Building is stated to be the world’s most famous office building.

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Rakesh Raman