Posts Tagged ‘dirigibles’

The Empire State Building’s airship terminal

March 23, 2009

The Empire State Building was not supposed to be just the tallest skyscraper in the world; its planners also wanted it to have a dirigible docking station at the very top. 

empirestatebuilding1 It was the late 1920s, and the grand new world of aviation was upon us. With that in mind, the idea was to have a dirigible dock at the building’s spire. Passengers would somehow disembark at the 102nd floor, where an elevator would whisk them down to the street.

But building planners forgot to factor in wind. After the Empire State Building opened in 1931, one dirigible did try to land there to test it out; it didn’t work, and the whole slightly ludicrous idea was scrapped. The spire became the dock for a broadcast tower in 1953. 

This postcard is part of the Walker Evans collection currently on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.