On the afternoon of April 30, 2012, steelworkers placed the first column on the 100th floor at One World Trade Center (still called, by some, the “Freedom Tower”) and New York City will again have a new tallest building on its skyline. But no matter how much higher One World Trade climbs, however, and whatever skyscrapers follow in the years and decades to come, there will always be one building in New York City that looms larger, and is looked on more fondly, than any other.
The Empire State Building opened for business on May 1, 1931, in the midst of the Great Depression, with New York governor Al Smith’s grandchildren cutting the ceremonial ribbon that introduced the 102-story masterpiece to the world. For four decades, it was the tallest building on the planet, before it was finally surpassed in 1972 by the World Trade Center towers anchoring lower Manhattan three miles south. Today, long after it lost the title as the tallest building in the world, and at a time when taller structures (everywhere, but especially in Asia) are rising at a dizzying clip, the ESB nevertheless still stands alone — literally and figuratively — on the Manhattan skyline.
Read more about the history of the Empire State Building here.