The Empire State Building: Constructing the World’s Tallest Tower in just 17 Months

1920 - Waldorf Astoria

The Waldorf-Astoria fronting 5th Avenue in 1920. NYPL Digital Gallery.

1929 Oct and Nov - Scaffolding goes up

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.

1930 March - Pit looking NW ZOOM

March 1930 – trucks haul loads of dirt out of the pit for the new tower. NYPL Digital Gallery.

1930 March 31 - looking SE

March 31, 1930 – the ramps have been removed and cranes have begun making their way into the pit to help the tower rise.

1930 April 24 - looking NW

April 24, 1930 – the foundation is complete and the Empire State Building has already to rise above ground level.

1930 April 24 - sign at NE corner

April 24, 1930 – a billboard on the Northeast corner of the site announcing the tower, ready for occupancy in May 1931.

1930 May 29 - looking NW

May 29, 1930 – Just a month later, the building is already 13 stories tall.

1930 June 2 - looking SW

June 2, 1930 – taken 4 days after the previous photo.

1930 July 24 - looking SW

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.

1930 August 18 - looking SW

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.

1930 Sep 4 - looking NW

September 4, 1930 – the tower quickly climbs into the sky.

1930 Oct 2 - looking NW

October 2, 1930 – the tower continues to climb into the sky.

1930 Oct 16 - looking N

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.

1930 Nov 10 - looking N

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.

1930 Nov - Spire Detail

November 18, 1930 – detail of the spire as it reaches its full height, 1,250 feet above the street.

NYT March 22 1931

New York Times, March 22, 1931 announcing the completion of the Empire State Building just 17 months after the Waldorf-Astoria began coming down.

About keithyorkcity

Name: Keith Age: 20-something Location: New York Passion: History You'll find a million blogs like mine, but mine is better.
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