Just read an article with a history of the Empire State Building and how it came to be the icon that it is.
You can see the original article here.
It turns out that the area of the Empire State building was a depressed area, and that the real estate developer was attempting to make a profit on this “down” area.
I wonder what he’s thinking now.
During the building itself, it became more important to break height records, and to beat the record of the Chrysler building (pictured below).
(Credit: Imprint Website)
Without the decorative top of the Empire State Building, it stands only 4 feet taller than the Chrysler Building.
The Art Deco Style of the Chrysler Building and the Empire are unique, and signs of the “glory” of the style. The author Stephen Heller mentions that there are other locations which boast Art Deco style: Hollywood, Florida, the Southwest– but none have the particular style of the Empire. The New York twist on the style is what sets these buildings apart.
Heller also brings up the matter of zoning rules in 1920s New York City. The city was apparently worried that skyscrapers would take over the city, block out light, and change the character of the landscape. Therefore, they imposed regulations that forced architects to set back buildings from the sidewalk, which forced architects to push their buildings creatively into smaller spaces. This resulted in the strange shape of the Radiator Building, and 2 Park Avenue.
To browse through some New York City Art Deco eye candy, take a look at the New York Architecture website.