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7 Wonders of the Modern World -> The Empire State Building

The Empire State Building

Construction of the Empire State Building began in March of 1930 on the site of the old Waldorf-Astoria Hotel at 350 Fifth Avenue at 34th Street. It was completed 14 months later in May, 1931. Designed by the architectural firm of Shreve, Lamb, & Harmon Associates, the Empire State Building, at 102 stories, was the tallest building in the world until the completion of the first tower of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan in 1972.

350 Fifth Avenue, between 33rd and 34th Streets, New York, NY 10001


Architects: Shreve, Lamb & Harmon Associates.
Builders: Starrett Brothers & Eken, Inc.

Height: 1,472 feet (448 meters) to top of antennae. 1,250 feet (391 meters) to 102nd floor observatory. 1,050 feet (320 meters) to 86th floor observatory.
Volume: 37 million cubic feet.

Area of Site: 83,860 square feet.

Cost including land: $40,948,900.

Cost of building alone: $24,718,000 (expected cost of $50 million did not materialize due to the Great Depression)

Construction schedule:
Excavation: Begun January 22, 1930, before demolition of old Waldorf-Astoria Hotel completed.
Construction: Begun March 17, 1930. Framework rose at the rate of 4.5 stories per week.
Cornerstone: Laid by Alfred E. Smith, former governor of New York, September 17, 1930.

Masonry completed: November 13, 1930.

Official opening: May 1, 1931, by President Herbert Hoover, who pressed a button in Washington, D.C. to turn on the building's lights.

Total time: 7 million man hours, 1 year and 45 days work, including Sundays and holidays.

Work Force: 3,400 during peak periods.

Building Materials:
Exterior: Indiana limestone and granite, trimmed with aluminum and chrome-nickel steel from the 6th floor to the top.

Interior lobby: Ceiling high marble, imported from France, Italy, Belgium and Germany.

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