King of the skyscrapers

Still in NYC, following the auspicious IORG launch, and took the opportunity to visit the Empire State Building.

I was totally unprepared for what I saw.

The Empire State Building

Of course, It’s tall, and the view from the top is incredible, but somehow I was expecting a ‘has been’. After all, this skyscraper was built some 80 years ago, in the great depression, the days when giant apes were swatting at quaint biplanes… the world is full of much taller towers today.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. The Empire State is still the tallest in Manhattan, following 9/11; and it totally dominates the Midtown skyline. But it is its superb architectural design that sets it apart. Its iconic tearraced lines thrust skyward in a perfect platonic expression of UP and STRENGTH that none of the funky new Glass and Gossamer skyscrapers can hold a candle to (speaking of strength, this tower took a direct hit by a twin engined B25 bomber in 1945 with only relatively minor damage).

This assertive presence is complemented by a magnificent attention to detail. All lobbies and corridors are faced in marble. Tasteful art deco ornaments add a twenties touch that is just right. You can make snide phallic jokes all you want, but It’s all simply beautiful, and in a way that no photo can do justice to.

Makes you proud to be an engineer!

Photo courtesy Wally Gobetz, shared on flickr under CC license.

Leave a Reply