The Wild and Dark History of the Empire State Building, One of New York City’s Most Recognized Landmarks, and Known for its Record-Breaking Height

Posted by Staff Reporter ( on Nov 27, 2015 11:00 PM EST
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Red And Green Lights Adorn The Empire State Buidling For Christmasmore big
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 23: The Empire State Building is seen lit in green and red Christmas colors (R) near Marble Collegiate Church (L) December 23, 2009 in New York City. Christians worldwide are gearing up for the December 25 holiday honoring the birth of Jesus Christ. (Photo : Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Upon completion of the building in 1931 at a cost of $40,948,900, it surpassed its competitors and became the tallest structure in New York. The building has had more than 30 suicide attempts. The first one occurred when a laid-off worker threw himself down an open elevator shaft while the building was still under construction.

On May 1, 1947, 23-year-old Evelyn McHale leapt to her death from the 86th floor and landed on the roof of a United Nations limousine parked outside of the building. Her lifeless body lay morbidly and majestically intact with legs elegantly crossing at the ankles as the car's metal folded around her, framing her full body. The death of McHale was given the title as "the most beautiful suicide."

According to the report of 6sqft, the building has had two cases of suicide accounts where the jumpers survived by failing to fall more than one floor. The first was on Dec. 2, 1972, when Elvita Adams jumped from the 86th floor only to be interrupted by a gust of wind that threw her body back on the 85th floor, allowing her to live again with just a mere broken hip. The second was when the 33-year-old Nathanial Simone jumped from the 86th floor observation deck on April 25, 2013, but fortunately landed shortly after on an 85th floor ledge.

President Herbert Hoover had officially dedicated the Empire State Building in 1931 by pressing a button from the White House that turned on the lights of the tallest building in New York. Of course, Hoover's gesture was symbolic, as while he remained in Washington, D.C. someone else had supposedly flicked on the switches in the Empire State Building, as reported by History.

The Empire State Building lost its title as the world's tallest building to New York's World Trade Center in 1972, which was the tallest skyscraper for a year. Today, the honor belongs to the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai which soars 2,717 feet into the sky.

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