Monday, May 3, 2010

The Empire State Building

Happy first Monday in May everyone!

This past Saturday, May 1st was the anniversary of the opening in 1931 of The Empire State Building! I've never been to the ESB and in fact have never been to New York, but I do hope to one day.

This building, this landmark is such an American Icon though, I simply had to comment on it.
For one reason in particular. But first a couple other comments.

The 102 story building was erected in 410 days. The construction crew was 3,400 men strong. The architectural drawings were completed in two weeks.

During construction of this mind blowing art-deco skyscraper, only 5 of the crew died.

2 weeks for architectural drawings to be completed. 410 days to construct a 102 story skyscraper with 3,400 men.

I work in an industry closely linked to Architecture-Engineering-Construction. Let me tell you a secret. Nowadays it would take 2 YEARS to complete the first set of architectural plans and the building phase would probably take 10-15 years...and then something would end up F-ed up!!!

You're saying, "well sure Jeff, but this was a different time. In 1931 there wasn't as much coding that had to be adhered to during design and there weren't labor bodies like OSHA to monitor labor conditions and keep it safe."

I say back "EXACTLY!! And is the building still standing????????????? Is it in danger of toppling over???????????????? NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

A bunch of legal and bureaucratic bullshit has been added and people who want to milk the clock (or rather calender) are making it impossible to actually get anything DONE now. No one's worried about completing anything and moving on to the benefits of the project...they're more interested in having something to DO for the next decade. Paper pushers all. A bunch of human doings, not enough human beings!!!

Nowadays it takes a year and a half of producing and submitting drawings and 4 years of construction to build a "Tilt-Up" modular building strip mall...which will probably fall down on its own in 25 years!


Fa'-Chriss-sakes! Let's get back to DOING things for the sake of getting things DONE instead of doing things just to fill up our days!

But that's not what I wanted to comment on....

In 1964 floodlights were installed to illuminate the building. They rigged it to light up in different colors for special events.

Red, white and blue for Independence Day. Green for St. Patrick's Day. Red and green for Christmas. And on Frank Sinatra's 80th birthday and subsequent passing, it lit up blue for "Ol' Blue Eyes" himself!

And on the day that Faye Ray died....the building went dark for 15 minutes.

Now THAT was something worth doing!

I salute and applaud you.

But THAT's not what I wanted to comment on either.

THIS is.

On July 28th, 1945 a B-25 bomber in heavy fog hit the Empire State Building.

Hit it hard enough that one of it's engines crashed clear through the other side and landed on a building a block away, burning down a penthouse.

In the ESB a fire raged, but workers successfully doused it after 40 minutes and the building opened again for business the following Monday.

On the observation deck, 14 people were killed in the fire, but one survived. 19 year old elevator operator, Betty Lou Oliver.

She was thrown from her post and injured and badly burned in the fire...but she survived.

When rescue workers got to her, they administered first aid and then sent her down to street level to be taken to the hospital.

They put her in the elevator. Which the fire had damaged.

Just after the elevator doors closed the cables snapped.

She plunged down 75 stories.

Do you follow? After surviving an airplane bomber hitting the side of the 102 story building, after having survived the ensuing fire...she then fell 75 stories in an elevator!!

She survived.

This is real Wile E. Coyote shit, people!

She returned to the building 6 weeks later with an elevator inspector, in what I'm sure was a publicity stunt by the building to show safety.

Nevertheless, when they arrived in the lobby, it was Betty Lou who walked up and pushed the elevator button to go up.

The inspector gave her a look as if to say, "You're one tough cookie, lady."

I agree, and that's what I wanted to comment on.

Someday I'm going to meet a woman as tough as Betty Lou Oliver. And when that day comes...I'm marrying that tough cookie on the spot!

Here's to you ESB...and here's to Betty Lou Oliver!

We need more like you.

See y'all tomorrow!

No comments:

Search This Blog