Unhappy that rival Walter Chrysler had just built the world’s tallest building, General Motors creator John Jacob Raskob went to architect William Lamb with the request that he surpass the Chrysler Building.
The two requirements specified were that the building look like a pencil and that it tower above any other structure on earth. With a peak work force of 3,000 men, the 102-story Empire State Building took only 14 months to complete and contains 10 million bricks and 5 acres of windows.
After it was finished, the building had so few tenants that it was called the “Empty State Building.” Today the Empire State Building is one of the most exclusive locations to lease. It was the world’s tallest building until 1972 when it was eclipsed by the former World Trade Center. It is currently the tallest building in New York City.