The Empire State Building

The Empire State Building, Manhattan, New York City (Copyright: Getty Images)The Empire State Building, Manhattan, New York City (Copyright: Getty Images)

After the Wall Street Crash in 1929, millions of Americans found themselves without work. In the early 1930s the Government made plans to help these people, and one of these plans was the building of a skyscraper on the corner of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street in New York. Work began in 1930, and the Empire State Building was opened on 1 May the following year. With its 102 floors, it was the tallest building in the world until the World Trade Center appeared in 1972.

As we all know, the World Trade Center was destroyed in 2001, and the Empire State Building was again the tallest in New York – but not the tallest in the world or the USA any more, because other, taller skyscrapers had been built around the world.

The Empire State Building is one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, and is the most popular building in the USA. It attracts millions of visitors every year. It also has an interesting history, not all of it pleasant. It was a symbol of hope during the Great Depression, but in 1945 a B-25 bomber crashed into it, killing fourteen people. And between 1931 and 2007, 30 people threw themselves from the top floor. On the bright side, in a movie from the 1930s, a madman tried to destroy the building, but it was saved by a man wearing a red cloak and a large “S” on his chest. 

 

Activity

Make a very simple timeline based on what you have just read. Try to use words of your own.
1929:
1930:
1931:
1931 – 1972:
1931 – 2007:
1945:
2001:

 

Activities for the links below

1) Go to the first website given below and answer these questions. The answers are in the first part of the text.

  1. What happened to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, and why?
  2. How did the management of the hotel meet the wishes of the people who wanted souvenirs?
  3. What was it about the bedrock which made it so good for the construction of the new building?
  4. Why did the builders cover the explosions with steel mats?
  5. What happened to the material that was dug out of the ground?
  6. Why was it important that the building materials arrived in Manhattan on time? 

  

2) Now turn to the second website, where you will find some interesting facts about tall buildings. When you have read and discussed it, choose the correct alternative for each statement:
 
  1. People thought it would collapse. 
    The Eiffel Tower 
    The Home Insurance Building
    The Chrysler Building
    The Empire State Building
     
  2. It reminds us of automobiles.
    The Eiffel Tower
    The Home Insurance Building
    The Chrysler Building
    The Empire State Building
     
  3. It proved that iron is very strong. 
    The Eiffel Tower
    The Home Insurance Building
    The Chrysler Building
    The Empire State Building
     
  4. It was pulled down after 46 years.
    The Eiffel Tower
    The Home Insurance Building
    The Chrysler Building
    The Empire State Building
     
  5. It features in a movie.
    The Citicorp Center 
    The Petronas Towers
    The John Hancock Center
    The Sears Tower
     
  6. You always get a long, clear view from it.
    The Citicorp Center
    The Petronas Towers
    The John Hancock Center
    The Sears Tower
     
  7. Nature nearly destroyed it.
    The Citicorp Center 
    The Petronas Towers
    The John Hancock Center
    The Sears Tower
     
  8. It has to withstand hard climatic forces.
    The Citicorp Center 
    The Petronas Towers
    The John Hancock Center
    The Sears Tower