A Conversation for Zeppelins and Other Dirigibles
Jack Frost Started conversation Dec 16, 2003
When the Empire State Building was being financed,the original plan entailed zeppelin's docking at the "mooring mast". The mooring mast now acts as a base for the television and radio arials which are such a distinctive feature of this wonderful building.
So confident were the owners of the building,that a customs and immigration post was located in what is now the gift shop on the 86th floor. This was to deal with the hordes of transatlantic passengers alighting from dirigibles!
Unfortunately,things did'nt go according to plan.
On a cold and windy morning the first dirigible appeared in the skies above 5th avenue and west 34th street.
A couple of hardy souls emerged cautiously from the mooring mast,and perched perilously 1250 feet above 5th avenue attempted to catch and attach winches which were dropped from the dirigble!
Once the winches were finally grasped and hooked into the winding gear,they then attempted to winch in the dirigble. But the up-draughts from the avenue were so strong,that the dirigible bobbed up and down with the currents,and the whole operation was so patently dangerous,it was decided very quietly there and then to abandon the project! This was 1931,and America was in the grip of the worst depression,it was found very difficult to rent out space in the building. With the dirigible plan a non starter,the building relied on a steady stream of tourists to bring in some revenue. For many years it was called the Empty State Building by it's detractors! It was not untill the early 1950's that full occupancy was achieved,and this wonderful feat of man's building skills really came into it's own.
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