The Empire State Building celebrates its 80th anniversary on Sunday, May 1, 2011. The tip of its lightning mast/antenna reaches 1,454 feet (443.179 meters)...

The Empire State Building (ESB) celebrates its 80th anniversary on Sunday, May 1, 2011.

The tip of its lightning mast/antenna reaching 1,454 feet (443.179 meters) above Midtown Manhattan, the Empire State Building has long been one of the world’s most recognizable and beloved attractions.

“On this significant anniversary, the Empire State Building celebrates 80 years of being an international symbol of innovation and ingenuity,” says Anthony Malkin of the Empire State Building Company. “Through an award-winning renovations and modernization project, the world’s most famous office building offers unmatched experiences for both its tenants and the millions who visit the Observatories each year.”

Highlights of the Empire State Building’s history through the years include:

● January 2011: The Empire State Building became New York City’s largest commercial purchaser of 100-per-cent-renewable energy.

● December 2010: The ESB aunched a newly designed website to provide global, instant digital access, as well as new social media channels with the creation of ESB Facebook and Twitter pages.

● July 2010: An interactive, multi-media sustainability exhibit was unveiled at the 2nd floor Visitor’s Center to educate visitors about ESB’s energy-efficiency program.

● April 2009: Alongside President Bill Clinton and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the ESB announced details of a retrofit aimed at reducing the building’s carbon emissions by more than 38 per cent while creating a replicable process for retrofitting existing commercial structures worldwide. It will save an estimated $4.4 million on energy costs per year. To find out more, visit

● 2009: The building completed a $550 million-plus “Empire State ReBuilding” program to renovate, reinvent and modernize the iconic landmark by restoring its 1931 Art Deco grandeur and adding enhancements to improve the tenant and visitor experiences.

● February 1994: The first Valentine’s Day wedding event was held. To date, more than 230 couples have been officially married at the ESB as part of this annual program.

● May 1981: The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission declared the Empire State Building a landmark.

● February 1978: The first ESB Run-Up took place. At this annual event, hundreds of athletes from around the world race a total of 1,576 steps to the 86th Floor Observatory.

● 1966: The manually operated high-speed elevators on the first 80 floors of the building were replaced with automatic elevators.

● June 1951: WNBT became the first media outlet to begin regular broadcasts from the new transmitting tower atop ESB.

●  July 28, 1945: Flying in fog, a North American B-25 Mitchell bomber crashes into the north side of the Empire State Building between the 79th and

● May 1, 1931: President Herbert Hoover pressed a button in Washington, D.C. to officially open the Empire State Building.

● March 1930: Construction of the building began. Its framework rose at a rate of four-and-a-half stories per week and the Empire State Building was completed in just 410 days.

The Empire State Building claims to be the world's most famous office building, though the tenants of the Pentagon (and some other buildings' tenants too) might dispute the claim

Facts about the Empire State Building

From the feat of its engineering, to the innumerable references in pop culture, its tower lights (which show different color combinations throughout the year to commemorate many different events) and countless celebrity visitors, the building boasts a multitude of interesting facts, accumulated from 1931 onwards. They include:

● The ESB took only one year and 45 days or 7 million man-hours to build, claimed as a record to this day for a skyscraper of its height.

● The ESB is the tallest building in New York at exactly 1,454 feet, 8 9/166 inches (443.2 meters) to the top of its lightning rod/antenna.

● The exterior of the Empire State Building is composed of 200,000 cubic feet of Indiana limestone and granite, 10,000,000 bricks and 730 tons of aluminum and stainless steel.

● The building is the center of New York City’s broadcasting operations; the skyscraper’s broadcasting technology supports all major television and FM radio stations in the New York metropolitan market.

● On the clearest of days, visibility from the Observatory is 80 miles, with five states in view: Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

● The ESB has been featured in many movies, including “King Kong,” “An Affair to Remember,” “Sleepless in Seattle” and “Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.”

● The ESB is one of the most celebrity-visited landmarks in the world, attracting the likes of Mariah Carey, Kylie Minogue, Justin Bieber, Roger Federer, Lauren Bacall, Rihanna, the cast of “Glee,” Penelope Cruz, Celine Dion, Mario Batali and the Victoria’s Secret Angels, to name just a few.

● The ESB is home to many international tenants, including Skanska; Coty, Inc.; the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC); and Li & Fung.

The Empire State Building Observatories are open 365 days per year from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. For more information about the Empire State Building, visit

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