Building the Empire State Building  NOV 04 2010

New York, the documentary film by Ric Burns, contains a great segment on the Empire State Building that is available on YouTube in three parts.

The first two parts are particularly interesting, especially the construction stuff that starts around the five minute mark of part one. Oh, and don't miss the steelworkers throwing red hot rivets around to each other...that starts right near the end of part one and continues into part two. Some other highlights:

- The original Waldorf-Astoria hotel was torn down (with no small amount of glee from the ESB's developers) to make room for the new skyscraper. The hotel was built by William Waldorf Astor, heir to the forture created by his father and grandfather (John Jacob Astor & John Jacob Astor III), on the site of his father's mansion. WW Astor's cousin, John Jacob Astor IV, went down on the Titanic and the Senate hearings into the disaster were held at the hotel.

- The steel beams were custom forged in Pittsburgh and shipped immediately to the building site...some arrived still hot to the touch from the furnaces.

- At the peak of construction, the workers were adding 4-5 stories a week. During one 22-day stretch, 22 new floors were erected. From start to finish, the entire building took an astonishing 13 months to build, about the same amount of time recently taken by the MTA to fix the right side of the stairs of the Christopher St subway station entrance.

- The building didn't become profitable until 1950.

(thx, lily)

Read more posts on kottke.org about:
Empire State Building   movies   New York   NYC   Ric Burns   video

kottke.org

Front page
About + contact
Site archives

Subscribe

Follow kottke.org on Twitter

Follow kottke.org on Tumblr

Like kottke.org on Facebook

Subscribe to the RSS feed

Advertisement

Ads by The Deck

Support kottke.org shop at Amazon

And more at Amazon.com

Looking for work?

More at We Work Remotely

Kottke @ Quarterly

Subscribe to Quarterly and get a real-life mailing from Jason every three months.

 

Enginehosting

Hosting provided EngineHosting