Empire State Building’s Art Deco spire returns in all its glory after restoration

September 25, 2020

Progress of the restoration; Courtesy of the Empire State Realty Trust

What’s old is new again. The iconic spire of the Empire State Building has returned to its original 1931 silhouette following a year-long restoration. The Empire State Realty Trust removed a network of archaic antennas and other unnecessary material found between floors 88 and 103 from the mooring mast, providing an obstacle-free look at the skyscraper’s unique 200-foot Art Deco pinnacle.

The Trust, along with project managers JLL, Master Riggers from ColeNYC, and CANY Architecture and Engineering, relocated the communications equipment to the recently-expanded upper spire of the building. The project, which kicked off last June, involved the removal of any obsolete antennas and equipment from the exterior and the scrubbing and power washing of the aluminum panels, which were also painted silver.

Now, as the restoration wraps up, the stunning Art Deco wings and shiny spire are once again on full- view.

The addition of the mooring mast and crown to the design made the Empire State Building the tallest in the world for 40 years. As part of the 20th century’s great skyscraper race, Jacob Raskob, former vice president of General Motors, decided to compete for the world’s tallest tower with Walter Chrysler of the Chrysler Corporation.

To make sure the Empire State Building out-scaled Chrysler’s, Raskob came up with a crafty solution. As 6sqft previously reported, when looking at a scale model of the building Raskob exclaimed, “It needs a hat!” Soon after, new plans were drawn and the proposed building grew to 1,250 feet, all thanks to the spire.

Last December, the Trust completed a four-year $165 million redevelopment of the landmark and opened new observatory spaces on the 80th and 102nd floors and a second-floor museum. After closing its public spaces in March because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Empire State Building reopened this summer at a reduced capacity.


Photos courtesy of the Empire State Realty Trust

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