Friday, June 18, 2010

Fun Fact Friday: ESB

Empire Strikes Back

The Empire State Building was in the news recently, after the building's management caused a minor uproar among Catholics (and others) when they refused to honor Mother Theresa by lighting up the ESB with blue and white lights on the centennial of her birth later this summer. 

The colored lights at the top of the skyscraper are often used to commemorate holidays, various causes, sports teams, and the occasional celebrity.  But when it came to Mother Theresa, the building's management issued a statement claiming that, aside from a few popular religious holidays (Christmas, Hannukah, and Ramadan), the Empire State Building would not be lit for religious purposes.

Interesting.  Here are some other interesting facts (interesting to me, anyways) about ye olde Empire State Building:

The Empire State Building - 102 stories high - functions as a lightening rod for the surrounding area.  It gets struck by lightening about 100 times per year.

The Chrysler Building became the world’s tallest building in 1930. The Empire State Building was already under construction at the time, and when it was completed the following year, the ESB ended the Chrysler’s brief reign at the top. However, time marches on and the ESB now ranks as only the 9th tallest in the world.

The ESB was the designated romantic rendezvous spot in both “An Affair to Remember” and its progeny, “Sleepless in Seattle.” Now, I am not a romantic-comedy fan, but the last scene in Sleepless, where Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan meet on the observation deck of the ESB, makes me cry every time. Every time. I’m tearing up right now just thinking about it. And I don’t know why!  ("Shall we?" Gasp! Sob!)

The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, before moving to its current digs on Park Avenue & 50th Street, used to be located on the spot where the ESB now stands.

Both Lassie and Fidel Castro have visited the Observatory of the Empire State Building.  Probably at separate times.

There's a tower at the top of the building that is now used for television broadcasting.  However, when initially constructed, the base of the tower was designed to be a mooring mast for blimps (a hip new mode of transport back in 1931).  This proved unsuccessful and incredibly dangerous, so the idea was quickly abondoned after the first (and only) blimp mooring went badly wrong.

Finally, if you’re looking at the ESB tonight, you will see it lit up with blue & white lights on the north/south sides, and blue & orange lights on the east/west sides. Significance? The Yankees are playing the Mets in the “Subway Series” this weekend.

Happy, happy weekend, y'all.

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