On May 1, 2016, the Empire State Building marks 85 years since it officially opened on May 1, 1931, with the press of a button by President Herbert Hoover in Washington, D.C to turn on the lights. At the time that the building opened, it was the tallest skyscraper in the world. In its 85-year history, the Empire State Building has weathered economic hardship, world war, labor strikes, murder, terrorist fears and even its own plane crash.
Below is a selection of photos from our archive of the Empire State Building through the years.
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The Empire State Building in New York City is shown on September 19, 1930, just after the steel work was completed. When finished, the new landmark building will be the tallest in the world. (AP Photo)
A steel worker rests on a girder at the 86th floor of the new Empire State Building during construction in New York City, Sept. 24, 1930. The tower of the Chrysler Building can be seen in the background on left. (AP Photo)
This Nov. 7, 1930 photo shows New York's skyline from the harbor. (AP Photo)
Eclipse watchers squint through protective film as they view a partial eclipse of the sun from the top deck of New York's Empire State Building Aug. 31, 1932. (AP Photo)
Wiley Post takes his plane Winnie Mae of Oklahoma on a test flight over New York City, July 4, 1933. Post is preparing for his transatlantic flight. The Empire State Building is in background at left. (AP Photo)
The German-built zeppelin Hindenburg, right, floats over the Manhattan skyline on Aug. 8, 1936. The Empire State Building, measuring 1,250 feet in height, can be seen at left. (AP Photo)
Spotters on the tower of the Empire State Building scan the skies for "enemy" planes, as maneuvers to perfect the defense of the north and central Atlantic seaboard against air attacks were started by the First Air Force in New York, Oct. 9, 1941. Some 40,000 civilian volunteer air raid spotters assisted the Army defenders. The two men are part of a group of 36 American Legionnaires taking turns at watch on the tower during the current war. (AP Photo/Robert Kradin)
High over Manhattan, a workman is busy on construction for the Empire State Building's new 217 foot multiple television tower, September 28, 1950. The tower, to be ready in December, will increase the building's height to 1,467 feet. (AP Photo)
The Empire State Building is seen from from the corner of Park Avenue and 36th Street in New York, May 31, 1951. (AP Photo/Bob Wands)
Roger Bannister, first man to pierce the mile's four-minute barrier, looks over the New York City skyline from atop the Empire State Building on May 13, 1954. Bannister, 25-year-old British medical student, ran the mile in 3:59.4 at Oxford, England, last week. (AP Photo/AC)
A new beacon light atop the Empire State Building in New York City, visible for 80 miles, lights up clouds as they revolve during a test on April 11, 1956. The glow at left of the building is from Times Square. Madison Ave., is at right. (AP Photo)
As day turns to dusk in New York City, an 84-foot balloon of King Kong clings to the top of the Empire State Building, April 13, 1983. It was inflated by workmen from the Robert Keith Company of San Diego to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the original "King Kong" movie. (AP Photo/G. Paul Burnett)
When seen from the air, this monarch of all the world's large buildings, the Empire State Building, located on Fifth Avenue in New York, scarcely looks its full height of 1250 feet, on Sept. 12, 1938. The Empire State has 102 floors, the last 16 being in the observation tower. (AP Photo)
Fifth Avenue, with the rest of midtown Manhattan, is blacked out, May 1, 1942. Towering over the darkness, at right, is the Empire State Building. The glow in the background, made from atop the RCA building, comes from lights in Brooklyn. (AP Photo/Tom Fitzsimmons)
This hole in the Empire State building between the 78th and 79th floor is where an Army B-25 bomber crashed into the north wall on July 28, 1945 in New York. (AP Photo)
A fireman stands beside a twisted girder as he examines the gaping holes in the north side of the Empire State Building on the 79th floor, evidence of the terrific impact with which a B-25 Army bomber crashed into the structure in New York, July 28, 1945. (AP Photo)
New York City, known the world over for its hustle-and-bustle, has its peaceful side also. Here a group of men take time out from their daily work to relax and read as they sit on the base of the flagpole on the New York Public Library grounds, Sept. 19, 1951. In the background is the towering structure of the Empire State building. (AP Photo/Robert Kradin)
The landmark Empire State Building pierces the skyline as the main attraction flanked by the cubist-inspired Waterside Plaza apartments in New York, Aug. 7, 1982. The world’s third largest building rises 1,472 feet in the air with its 102 floors. (AP Photo/Suzanne Vlamis)
Doug Domokos, 26, of Anaheim, Calif., does a wheelie atop the observation roof of the Empire State Building in New York on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 1983, to inaugurate his first appearance in New York at the opening of "The Great American Motorcycle Show" at Madison Square Garden. (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler)
A general view in the lobby of the Empire State Building, May 1, 1931. Former Gov. Alfred E. Smith, with his grandchildren and party, are shown as they awaited the illumination of the building which was caused by the pushing of a button by President Hoover in Washington, D.C. This act officially opened the new building. (AP Photo)
The Empire State Building is visible in a hazy New York City skyline, circa 1969-1970. (AP Photo/Eddie Adams)
This is a view of New York City facing west, with New Jersey in the background, as seen from the observation deck of the Empire State Building, 1939. (AP Photo)
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