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You know, man is the only animal clever enough to build the Empire State Building and stupid enough to jump off it!
May 1, 2006 7:23 AM   Subscribe

She's she's been pawed by apes, strafed by a bomber, and snubbed by the daleks. But today, at 75, the Empire State Building still looks great.
posted by Smart Dalek (25 comments total)

 
Apparently, man is too stupid to jump off it.
posted by beno at 7:31 AM on May 1, 2006


It's a bit fascist looking for my tastes. (So are a lot of other buildings from the era. Boston's PO Square courthouse looks like it should have swastika banners draped on it.)
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:37 AM on May 1, 2006


Just last week I placed a meccano order:

http://www.meccano.com/products/monuments/product.php?ref=820511
posted by parki at 7:50 AM on May 1, 2006


Apparently, man is too stupid to jump off it.

I'm surprised that guy didn't get away with it. He's jumped off of all sorts of stuff before, including the Palace Hotel in Manhattan.
posted by smackfu at 7:57 AM on May 1, 2006


Art Deco = Fascist? I'm sorry you've made that connection. You've written off a lot of beautiful buildings.
posted by Popular Ethics at 8:18 AM on May 1, 2006


Happy Birthday you big, beautiful, sassy limestone and granite broad!
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:21 AM on May 1, 2006


strafed by a bomber

that word - I do not think it means what you think it means ...

strafe (strāf)
tr.v., strafed, straf·ing, strafes.
To attack (ground troops, for example) with a machine gun or cannon from a low-flying aircraft.
posted by kcds at 8:23 AM on May 1, 2006


It's also slang for "graze", as in a glancing blow. I'm still waiting for my second she's to be corrected. Sheesh.
posted by Smart Dalek at 8:26 AM on May 1, 2006


Art Deco = Fascist? I'm sorry you've made that connection. You've written off a lot of beautiful buildings.

It's really only the stronger edifices. The Chrysler Building is my favorite tower aesthetically. Probably because the spire seems to fit instead of looking tacked on and I like the roundness and ornamentation at the top. Does that last part make me gay?
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:43 AM on May 1, 2006


I'm heading to that building later today for the mundane task of picking up orthotics. I wish it was to do something cool to celebrate the occasion. :(
posted by splatta at 9:02 AM on May 1, 2006


Well, have a drink while you're there.
posted by boo_radley at 9:08 AM on May 1, 2006


It's also slang for "graze", as in a glancing blow

I've never seen strafe used as a synonym for graze (as in a glancing blow).

This was a good post, by the way, I'm not disputing that.

Oh, and by the way, you've got two "she's" in that sentence ;-)
posted by kcds at 9:13 AM on May 1, 2006


Strafe NEQ glancing blow, but... glancing blow? The bomber plowed directly and disastrously into the building.

I seem to remember a movie that may have been loosely based on this, only the plane kind of smushed into the building and contained survivors who had to escape before the fuselage fell. I think a very short, tinted-glasses-wearing country musician whose name escapes me played one of the characters. My IMDB-fu has failed...
posted by Tubes at 9:16 AM on May 1, 2006


The Chrysler Building is my favorite tower aesthetically.

Mine Too. I'm especially fond of the Gargoyles
posted by clubfoote at 9:32 AM on May 1, 2006


glancing blow? The bomber plowed directly and disastrously into the building

The B-25 bomber has a wingspan of a little over 67 feet. The hole it made was 18 x 20 feet. Did it "graze" the building? Or did it hit it "directly"?

We report. You decide. ;-)
posted by kcds at 10:19 AM on May 1, 2006


It's a bit fascist looking for my tastes.

Not as fascist as this one.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:20 AM on May 1, 2006


Tubes: Perh. Flight to Holocaust?

I've also never heard strafe to mean "smack" or "carom".

Curley: There's a superficial resemblance to the Warsaw Palace of Culture and Science and Moscow's Seven Sisters, but those came later. The stepped massing of the Empire State has a direct relationship to then-current NYC zoning and air rights. Also, the USSR was late to modernism and for technological reasons late to the glass-wall skyscraper, so the global interwar architecture persisted in those states for much longer than it did in the West (and postwar Europe was eager to rebuild in a completely different style). When you put the engineering of the day together with the raw materials and other considerations, that's what you end up with.

One of the other angles about the ESB is the "maze" of ownership. Most skyscrapers used to be built, owned, and rented out by either individual developers or companies (as headquarters). Nowadays you have leases, sub-leases, REITs, and all sorts of other things combined with an unfavorable view of building ownership by most stock investors.
posted by dhartung at 10:39 AM on May 1, 2006


Maybe I'll swing by when I'm in town on Saturday. I haven't been to the Empire State Building since I was a lad.

But I also prefer the Chrysler Building. It's just so freakin' cool looking.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:44 AM on May 1, 2006


I'm heading to that building later today for the mundane task of picking up orthotics. I wish it was to do something cool to celebrate the occasion. :(

Ha. I think I remember reading a NYT piece a while back that said the Empire State is, in fact, full of extremely mundane businesses. Dentists and such, travel agents, etc. There is, however, an excellent shoemaker on the 33rd Street side.

Obligatory personal anecdote: I used to work on West 31st Street, and to get there I walked to and from Grand Central Station. For several months after 9/11 I went to great lengths not to walk by the ESB, since I figured it was probably next on someone's "symbolically important American buildings to destroy" list.
posted by scratch at 11:04 AM on May 1, 2006


dhartung, that's it!

Featuring Paul ("We've Only Just Begun," "Rainy Days and Mondays," "Rainbow Connection") Williams! (I knew it was Paul something...)

One vague childhood snapshot memory validated.

Holey moley, he was "Little Enos" in Smokey & the Bandit, too. And was in Picket Fences, Babylon 5, Walker, Voyager... busy guy.
posted by Tubes at 1:33 PM on May 1, 2006


Did it "graze" the building? Or did it hit it "directly"?
We report. You decide. ;-) -kcds
"crash caused extensive damage ... building was rocked by the impact... heard as far as two miles away. Flames and dense smoke...

"Later on a wing was found on Madison Avenue... one of the planes engines was found on the South side of the building...

"The other engine hit the door leading into an elevator shaft and fell 80 stories. While falling the engine cut the cables on many of the elevators...

"fuselage of the plane disintegrated into the 78th and 79th floor killing all four onboard... as well as killing or injuring everyone working in the... offices... by the flying metal or by the raging inferno that followed."
Since a wing & engine went sailing loose, it must not have been a 90 degree impact in the center of the building. But it was certainly no "graze." Yikes.
posted by Tubes at 1:43 PM on May 1, 2006


Paul Williams - also Little Enus in Smokey and the Bandit, as well as - best of all - just about all of the music for Bugsy Malone!
posted by Sk4n at 1:50 PM on May 1, 2006


Tallest building for 40 years!

Match THAT Johnny-come-latelys!
posted by HTuttle at 5:03 PM on May 1, 2006


I like the ESB. I have no idea why anyone would call it "fascist-looking", and I have an extremely sensitive nose for fascism. It's imposing and starkly beautiful, is what it is. And I am very happy that I am able to walk to my window right now, look out and see it. Hang on...

Cool! White lights tonight! I always like that best.
posted by Decani at 5:10 PM on May 1, 2006


apologies for the long posting, but this is a great story:

Longest Fall Survived In An Elevator
Betty Lou Oliver (USA) an elevator operator, survived a plunge of 75 stories (over 300 m or 1,000 ft) in an elevator in the Empire State Building, New York, USA, on July 28, 1945.

The accident occurred after a B-25 bomber accidentally crashed into the Empire State building during a particularly severe bout of fog. Sensing the dangers, the air traffic controller ordered the pilot to make a landing, but in a twist of fate, the pilot made the decision to carry on undeterred. Disorientated by the fog, the pilot believed he was flying on Manhattans West side which proved to be the crucial mistake. Flying past the Chrysler building he proceeded to bear right instead of left, the consequences of which saw him heading directly in the flight path of the Empire State Building. A final last minute attempt to rectify his mistake and climb the height of the building failed. At 9.40 am that morning, the aircraft ploughed into the 74th of the 103 floors of what was known at the time as the worlds tallest building ...

When the plane hit the building, Betty was badly burned having been blown from her position on the 80th floor. Once she received first aid treatment for her injuries, she was put into another supposedly safe elevator in order to meet an ambulance waiting at the bottom.

Unbeknown to rescue workers, the safety cables of Betty's elevator had been cut when the plane penetrated the elevator shaft at the 38th floor. Witnesses heard what sounded like a gunshot as the cables snapped on her decent. By freak co-incidence, if the safety cables had worked as they should, the car would have automatically stopped at the 34th and 35th floors which were known as blind hatches (meaning that there are no escape doors in the hatch), and would have entailed rescue workers breaking through time-consuming layers of marble and concrete to get to her. In addition, the car was on fire which also could have meant Betty suffocating from smoke inhalation in the delay.

Once the cables snapped, the elevator car went into freefall and in a matter of seconds the car had crashed to the basement. Fortunately, the impact was cushioned by the broken cables which piled in a spring-like spiral on the floor of the shaft. It is also thought that the narrow lift shaft served as a compressor for the air and therefore softened the blow. Despite the far corner of the elevator where Betty was standing, the entire car was filled with steel, bricks and parts from the airplane and she had to be cut from the mangled wreckage. Rescue workers who eventually got to Betty said that it was a miracle she was alive!
posted by soiled cowboy at 7:46 PM on May 1, 2006


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