48. A Building for the Empire State

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The Empire State Building may be the most famous building in New York City. It is called the Empire State Building because New York State is called the Empire State. It is 1,454 feet tall. Many people think it is the tallest building in the world. This was true when it was built in 1931. In 1970, when the World Trade Center was built, that became the tallest building. Now, the Empire State Building is the fourth tallest building in the U.S. and the 23rd tallest in the world. Inside the building is mostly occupied by offices and stores.

People can go to the top of the building, where there is an observation deck. From the top there are beautiful views of New York City, especially at night. Most people take one of 73 elevators to the top. It takes less than one minute by elevator to get to the 80th floor. That is where there is a gift shop. Some people walk 1,860 steps to the top. Every year there is even a race, with people competing to see who can walk up to the top the fastest.

The landmark is not just famous because of its height. In 1945, a small plane crashed into it. More than 30 people have tried to kill themselves by jumping off the building. In 1933 it was featured in the movie King Kong, where a giant gorilla climbs to the top and falls to his death after being attacked by airplanes. The building was also in the movie Sleepless in Seattle with Tom Hanks.

At night, the top of the Empire State Building is lit up in different colors. It is red and green on Christmas, red for Lunar New Year, and blue for Hanukkah. On the Fourth of July it is red, white, and blue.

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