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Happy 80th Birthday to the Empire State Building!

One of the most famous buildings in the U.S. had its official opening this week (May 1) in 1931 — the Empire State Building in New York City. The building was constructed in just 14 months.

Not long after its opening, it became a movie star, with the famous scene in “King Kong” when the giant gorilla climbs the building clutching actress Fay Wray while fighting off attacking fighter planes. At 102 stories, the Empire State Building was the tallest in the world for four decades until surpassed by the first tower of the World Trade Center in 1972.

King Kong defends himself against fighter planes from his perch on top of the Empire State Building in the 1933 classic.

The Empire State Building has appeared in over 250 major motion picture films since 1939. Some of the most notable ones are: King Kong (1933), Superman II (1980), Sleepless in Seattle (1993), Independence Day (1996), and Elf (2003).

The View from the Empire State Building's Observation Deck

Did you know: The Empire State Buildings famous spire was originally designed to be a blimp depot and mooring point. A few test runs with airships proved to be too dangerous and impractical, however, due to the buildings powerful updrafts.

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