The Empire State Building stood as the tallest man-made structure in the entire world and as a symbol of human achievement for forty years, this many people know, but did you know that it was built by immigrants?
At the time of the building’s construction, immigrants from Europe were streaming into the United States through the Ellis Island port in New York City. The informal intake system in New York did not ensure immigrants had jobs as soon as they entered their new home and they often were stuck within the city trying to scrape by with odd jobs.
However, when the construction of the Empire State Building began, labor was necessary and there were plenty of immigrants around willing to work on the project.
This was at the beginning of the Great Depression, a time in American history marked by great unemployment and stagnation in industry. Immigrants who worked on the Empire State Building circumvented these problems and created a beacon of hope within a country suffering from economic misfortune.
The building itself is quite beautiful, designed in the style of Art Deco (a very popular style at the time which can be found all over the country from construction projects from the 1930s) it stands at about 1,454 feet including the immense spire at its top. The spire has been illuminated by electric light since the building’s inception.
A symbol of New York City and the United States since its completion, it is appropriate that it was built by immigrants since it was immigrants who built the United States from the ground up.
The building often shows up in films in establishing shots to show that the scene about to take place is in New York City and is a part of history for its role in the 1933 classic film, King Kong.