10118: The Empire State Building

Iconic. Illuminating. Inspiring.

New York City’s Empire State Building symbolizes all that’s great about this spirited city. While most people are familiar with the building because of its central casting and cameos in movies, there’s a lot more to learn about this singular, splendid skyscraper.

Upper tower (almost) a mooring mast for airships

Photo courtesy of Nationaal Archief
Photo courtesy of Nationaal Archief

Legend has it that the 200-foot tower at the top of the building was meant to double as a docking port for blimps. An airship would maneuver alongside the tower and tether itself to a winch. Passengers would then use an open-air gangplank to exit the airship onto the tower before heading to the customs office. And the kicker? They’d be down on the ground (as in out the front door of the Empire State Building) in about seven minutes. Uh-huh.

Never mind that the massive vertical winds near the top of the building prohibited airships from successfully docking. Even if the winds were calm enough, each docking would require a decent number of ground crew and a lot of rope — and brave passengers willing to venture out onto a gangplank so high up. Supposedly, one small Goodyear blimp managed to tether itself for a few minutes, but it has been said that the building’s owners soon abandoned the absurd docking plan.

The truth is, in this case, much more believable: The building’s spire was erected to ensure that the Empire State Building would still be (at the time, anyway) the tallest building in the world. And the image with the dirigible hovering by the spire? As New Yorker Elaine from “Seinfeld” would say, “Fake, fake, fake, fake.”

LEED-certified skyscraper

Photo courtesy of Youngking11 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]
Photo courtesy of Youngking11 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

As of July 2018, the Empire State Building held the rank of the tallest Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified building in the United States. It was awarded the LEED Gold certification for LEED for Existing Buildings: Operation and Maintenance in 2011. The iconic building is also carbon-neutral. Anthony Malkin, the chief executive officer and chairman of Empire State Realty Trust, agreed to buy carbon offsets totaling 55 million kilowatt hours per year of renewable energy.

The Empire State Building Run-Up

Looking up at the Empire State Building with Clouds and blue sky — Photo courtesy of Zvika Kuperman from Pexels
Photo courtesy of Zvika Kuperman from Pexels

Not for the faint of heart, the Empire State Building Run-Up (ESBRU) tests both the physical and mental endurance of those who attempt to run the 86 flights — 1,576 stairs — each May. That equates to about 1/5 of a mile vertically.

The fastest course records belong to Paul Crake of Australia, who finished in 9:33 in 2003, and Andrea Mayr of Austria, who ran it in 11:23 in 2006.

Who “gets” to participate in this fun run? Elite runners (men and women), members of the media, celebrities, NYC real estate brokers, employees of Turkish Airlines (the presenting sponsor of the 2019 ESBRU), members of the NYPD and FDNY, lottery winners and athletes associated with the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) — the official charity of the Run-Up.

How does one of the world’s most famous races logistically take place in one of the world’s most recognizable and heavily trafficked buildings? The race doesn’t start till 8 PM — giving the throngs of sightseers and regular working folks enough time to exit the building before the mad rush up begins.

10118

Black and white aerial photo of the Empires State Building on a hazy day — Photo courtesy of Samuel Walker from Pexels
Photo courtesy of Samuel Walker from Pexels

One of the most famous ZIP codes around is 10118. Why? Because it belongs to the Empire State Building — and only the Empire State Building. Since it is home to so many businesses, it has garnered its own ZIP code. Some well-known tenants include Bulova, Chipotle, Coty, Expedia, HNTB, Shutterstock and Walgreens, and many (such as LinkedIn) have renovated their spaces to accommodate their particular brand.

Empire State Realty Trust Inc. (ESRT) owns and manages the Empire State Building. ESRT focuses on giving its tenants an exceptional environment in which their employees are satisfied and, in turn, more productive. The Urban Campus includes such tenant-only services as a 15,000-square-foot fitness center and conference center, STATE Grill and Bar serving breakfast, lunch, business express lunch, happy hour and dinner, plus a private dining room and catering. The building also offers eight in-building dining options and an array of lobby services — bank, ATM and currency exchange, restaurants, retail and courier.

Sleepy No. 24

An empty EnergyPod at Wesleyan University — much like what used to occupy the 24th floor of the ESB — Photo courtesy of Z22 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]
An EnergyPod at Wesleyan University — much like what used to occupy the 24th floor of the ESB — Photo courtesy of Z22 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

While the idea of napping at work hasn’t yet caught on across mainstream America, the Empire State Building gave it a shot: From 2004 to 2008, the entire 24th floor was dedicated to the quick nap. Providing space-age-looking nap pods, employees who worked in the building could pay about $14 for a 20-minute snoozefest. These “EnergyPods” were the brainchild of MetroNaps (now Restworks in the U.S.), which continues today to implement installations in forward-thinking offices, hospitals, universities and fitness centers around the world.

So close, you could touch it

As grand as the Empire State Building is both inside and out, you can’t hang out forever in either of the Observation Decks, and you’ll get a kink in your neck if you stare up at it too long from street level.

One of the spectacular evening views of the Empires State Building and cityscape from Archer’s Spyglass Rooftop Bar
One of the spectacular views from Archer’s Spyglass Rooftop Bar

Archer Hotel New York, around the proverbial corner on 38thStreet between 5thand 6thAvenues, has one of the best views around of the iconic building. From Archer’s industrially elegant lobby, take an elevator up to the 22nd floor and step out into Spyglass Rooftop Bar. Designed and refreshed with the bygone era of the Garment District’s heyday in mind, its vibe complements the art deco style of the Empire State Building.

In the recently spiffed-up yet still classically elegant Spyglass, you’ll be treated to an up-close-and-personal vantage point with the iconic building just begging to be the background in your next selfie. Cap off your rooftop experience with a crafted cocktail and a sharable bite from Charlie Palmer Steak (on Archer’s ground floor and served in Spyglass).

With the Empire State Building as your backdrop and Archer as your consummate host, you’re likely to get a little misty-eyed. And that’s 100 percent OK — you’ll be in good company. As bestselling author Maureen Johnson said:

“I get a little romantic about the old Empire State. Just looking at it makes me want to play some Frank Sinatra tunes and sway a little. I have a crush on a building. I’d been in there several times but never to work. I always knew there were offices in there but the face never penetrated, really. You don’t work in the Empire State Building. You propose in the Empire State Building. You sneak a flask up there and raise a toast to the whole city of New York.”

Cheers to the ESB, to New York City — and to you.

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