5 Things You Didn’t Know About the Empire State Building

Everyone knows the basics of the Empire State Building -- it's in Manhattan, it got its name from New York State's nickname, and it was the world's tallest building for nearly 40 years. But how about the smaller details? You may be surprised at what knowledge you've been lacking!

1. When the illuminated floodlights were added to the top of the building in 1964, it took the lighting crew upwards of six hours to change the gel in the lights in order for the long tradition of colors switching during holidays and special events to take place. Aside from holiday colors, the building changes for events like Frank Sinatra's 80th birthday (blue, for his nickname "Ol Blue Eyes") or going completely black for fifteen minutes when Fay Wray, King Kong's love interest in the film, passed away. It wasn't until 2012 that new LED lights were installed, giving technicians more than 16 million color combinations to choose from.

2. Movies throughout the history of film have used the Empire State Building as their set, from "An Affair to Remember" to "King Kong," as well as newer hits like "Sleepless in Seattle" and strange cult classics like Andy Warhol's silent-film, "Empire."

3. An annual foot race called "The Empire State Building Run-Up" challenges runners to race from the ground floor to the 86th-floor observation deck by using only the stairs. The record time is 9 minutes and 33 seconds -- not bad!

4. The Empire State Building is struck by lightning an average of 100 times per year.

5. Built just after the Great Depression, many locals called the building "The Empty State Building" due to more than 70% of the rooms being unoccupied.