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Empire State Airship Mooring | by lazzo51
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Empire State Airship Mooring

Photoshopped picture of the original idea of making an airship mooring on the top of the Empire State building. Though there is real proof that this is what the builders said, I think this was more a publicity stunt than a serious venture. Remember, this was at the same time the Chrysler building was going up and there was a lot of competition between each of what was going to be the bigger, grander building. I think it was more to generate interest in the mind of the public.


There are a lot of sites on the web that have different stories about the docking station. Here is one:


The Empire State Building was completed on time and under budget. Yet for such a well-thought-out building, it was remarkably unprepared for its role as aviation pioneer. Granted, the building's framework was stiffened against the 50-ton pull of a moored dirigible, some of the winch equipment for pulling in arriving ships was installed, and the 86th floor was readied with space for a departure lounge and customs ticket offices. The builder's lawyers even prepared a thick brief, arguing, amongst other things, that owners of neighboring buildings could not sustain a claim of trespass when they found dirigibles overhead. But no one worked out one other problem: wind. The steel-and-glass canyons of Manhattan are an airship captain's nightmare of shifting air currents. Raskob and Smith were inviting the unwieldy craft to come in low and slow, over hazards such as the menacing Chrysler Building spire, and somehow tie up without use of a ground crew. Then, too, if the crew released ballast to maintain pitch control, a torrent of water would cascade onto the streets below. And once secured, a dirigible could be tethered only at the nose, with no ground lines to keep it steady.


Passengers would have to make their way down a stinging gangway, nearly a quarter mile in the air, onto a narrow open walkway near the top of the mast. After squeezing through a tight door, they would have to descend two steep ladders inside the mast before reaching the elevators. "Can you see some of the 75-year-old dowager doing that?" asks Alexander Smirnoff, the current telecommunications director of the building, as he stands on that walkway.


Confronted with such daunting realities, Smith dispensed bland assurances that "there must be some way to work that thing out." He insisted that the US Navy was a partner in the project and its dirigible Los Angeles would dock at the mast. But the navy remained mum. The most it did was allow one of its smaller airships to hover nearby one day at the request of a newsreel company.


One small airship did drop a long rope to the mast and held on from a distance for a precarious three minutes, and another delivered a bundle of newspapers by rope. After that, the effort was quietly abandoned. But the mast remained, and it eventually became an asset, turning out to be a spectacular radio and television transmitter. It also provided two popular and lucrative observation decks. And it gave the Empire State Building an unforgettable profile.

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Uploaded on December 3, 2008