The Waldorf-Astoria fronting 5th Avenue in 1920. NYPL Digital Gallery.
The Waldorf-Astoria fronting 34th Street (5th Avenue is in the background at left) in October (L) and November (R) 1929 as it is demolished to make way for the new office tower. NYPL Digital Gallery.
March 1930 – trucks haul loads of dirt out of the pit for the new tower. NYPL Digital Gallery.
March 31, 1930 – the ramps have been removed and cranes have begun making their way into the pit to help the tower rise.
April 24, 1930 – the foundation is complete and the Empire State Building has already to rise above ground level.
April 24, 1930 – a billboard on the Northeast corner of the site announcing the tower, ready for occupancy in May 1931.
May 29, 1930 – Just a month later, the building is already 13 stories tall.
June 2, 1930 – taken 4 days after the previous photo.
July 24, 1930 – six weeks later, the tower has shot up to 42 floors and now boasts windows and a portion of its limestone facade.
August 18, 1930 – less than a month after the previous photo, the Empire State Building has again shot into the sky, getting ever closer to claiming the title of World’s Tallest Building from its more uptown neighbor, the Chrysler Building.
September 4, 1930 – the tower quickly climbs into the sky.
October 2, 1930 – the tower continues to climb into the sky.
October 16, 1930 – The Empire State Building claims its title as the World’s Tallest Building. The previous record-holder, the Chrysler Building, stands in the background to the North in this photo.
November 10, 1930 – construction begins on the building’s spire, which was originally intended to be a mooring mast for dirigibles. Due to high winds, this never came to pass, but was a popular fun-fact for the building while under construction.
November 18, 1930 – detail of the spire as it reaches its full height, 1,250 feet above the street.
New York Times, March 22, 1931 announcing the completion of the Empire State Building just 17 months after the Waldorf-Astoria began coming down.