This month we are going to take a little trip to a city that has captivated the minds of billions. Some believe it is truly the Center of the Universe. They call it the Big Apple or the City that Never Sleeps!
It is home to America’s beloved Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge and THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING!
What city is this? You’ve got it!
New York, New York!
Okay, Frank, take it from here!
That was Frank Sinatra – one of the world’s most famous singers, singing one of the world’s most famous songs about the world’s most famous city – New York.
Did you see the building shaped like a pencil? Yep, that’s the Empire State Building? When it opened in May of 1931, it was the tallest building in the world. Let’s take a closer look at this incredible structure. In fact, let’s make it this week’s MUSE!
The 1930’s was a difficult time here in the United States. Millions of Americans were without jobs. This meant they had no money for shelter or food.
At this time, New York City was home to hundreds of thousands of immigrants who had left their homelands to grab a piece of the American Dream. Sadly, they were met with poverty and despair on this side of the ocean too.
A few rich men decided to give New York and the rest of the United States a beacon of hope – a sign of better days to come. How? They would erect the largest building in the world and employ hundreds of immigrant workers to construct it.
Al Smith, who had once been the governor of New York, was placed in charge of the construction project. He hired William F. Lamb to design the building with one question in mind, “How big can you build it so it won’t fall down?”
Ground was broken on March 17, 1930 – St Patrick’s Day. The construction took a little over a year and the Empire State Building opened on May Day of 1931. Al Smith’s grandchildren cut the ceremonial ribbon.
Take a look at the video below to find out all kinds of interesting facts about the Empire State Building.
And did you know that Indiana has an important connection to the Empire State Building. The 30 million pounds of limestone that it took to erect this famous building ALL came from a quarry near Bedford, Indiana. A gigantic hole was left behind after all of this stone was taken. Can you guess what this hole is called?
New York got the building, and Indiana got the hole. HAHA!
Now that the Empire State Building was open for business, it was nearly impossible to rent out all the space inside. Remember, the 1930’s was NOT a good time for business, especially small business in the United States.
Once again, Al Smith went to work trying to fill the building with renters. He traveled all over the United States trying to lure companies to move to the Empire State Building. But it just didn’t happen.
Hollywood saved the day in 1933! The Empire State Building was the setting for the climactic scene of KING KONG! Take a look.
This movie made the Empire State Building the most famous building in the world. And the fame brought renters too. Ta-da!
Before you take all this new knowledge and weave your own creative story with it, I have one more interesting fact to tell you.
The Empire State Building would not have been built without the help of the Native American tribe known as the Mohawk Tribe. Groups of men from this tribe were conditioned to have no fear of heights. They would walk the beams of steel with agility and speed without fearing a fall that would mean certain death. Many of New York’s skyscrapers were built with the help of these men.
With this new knowledge, what kind of story could you write? Maybe these what if questions will help you get started.
WHAT IF the Empire State Building was the setting of your story? What if you told the story through an unlikely perspective? A bird? A mouse?
WHAT IF your main character had was a mad scientist who lived in the basement of the Empire State Building? What is his/her plan to take over the building?
WHAT IF your main character was one of the Mohawk iron workers? What if this character was a kid?
The possibilities are endless, and please leave your own what if questions in the comment section below. I’d love to see what you come up with.
So, grab a pencil and a piece of paper, and let’s begin. With your imagination, we can go anywhere. I look forward to seeing where you take us.