Brooklyn Standard Union
2 May 1931

City Like Some Relief Map From Dizzy 102nd Story
Crowds at Opening Awed-Once Blind Youth Thrilled
By Dixie TIGHE

    The Empire State Building is still in a high state of celebration
to-day.  The elevators are just about run ragged and people peer from its
unbelievable altitudes until the poor little one-time skyscrapers shrivel
into miserable stone dwarfs.

    The Empire State Building had a housewarming yesterday, with President
HOOVER turning on the lights from Washington, and ex-Gov. Alfred E. SMITH,
who merely conceived and fostered the construction of New York's magnificent
giant, seeing that his grandchildren severed the tape that symbolized the
grand entrance to his favorite edifice.

    The trouble with the Empire State Building is that there are more floors
than adjectives.  It becomes a bit trying to try and make comments on 102
floors and taking it by feet, even the better dictionaries are a little shy
on words that aptly describe the grandeur of a 1,252 rise from the street.
    If the simple elegance of the extensive lobby doesn't overwhelm you,
it's a matter of better mechanics to be whisked to the eighty-sixth floor.
These low-grade elevators are maddening.  It's necessary to change at 86 for
the 102d floor.


    The eighty-sixth floor yesterday was in a receptive mood.  It was the
floor where visitors looked out of windows and said, "Isn't it cute?" when
they looked at the Chrysler Building and said, "Who left that pile of stones
down there?" as they gazed below at the blushing buildings eclipsed by Mr.
SMITH's own building.

    On the eighty-sixth floor is the elevator that leads to the 102nd floor
where the buildings seem to have grown taller rather than shorter.  If you
know your optical illusions, that one may be simple, but to a building
novice it was quite disconcerting to find that the Chrysler Building had
grown up into a great, big, beautiful spire.

    By sighting the tip of the Chrysler spire from the ledge of the railing
on the 102nd floor there isn't any.  But unless you went rifle-range on the
Chrysler Building it seemed to be piercing the sky with its tip.

    Brooklyn was lost in the fog.  There was a thick haze and all that could
be seen across the river was an occasional smokestack protruding a gray
height through an enlightening stretch of drifting white smoke.

    Central Park, off in the distance, looked only like a rough landing
field and most of New York's buildings that go to make up a world famous
skyline were dreary sprouts with a sporadic, massive, white building looking
as if they had their faces washed for the occasion.


    There are observatory decks on the 101st and 102d floors - but who wants
to stay downstairs on them when you can see the tower of Mr. SMITH's
building looming far above you.

    A little cajoling of a nice construction man resulted in being escorted
to the top of the Empire State Building.  And when we say top - we mean top.
Up a wooden ladder into the darkness of an enclosure still in the process of
construction.  And, ladies, if anyone asks you up, fish out the riding

    Then up a steel stairway into the light and on to an inverted dishpan, a
mere fifteen feet wide.  And, my goodness, if everything hadn't grown more!
You could almost tell time by Mr. PARAMOUNT's clocks.  The haze had lifted
and a bright sun had apparently come out for the underdog, and was sparkling
on the poor little buildings that were begging for notice.

    There was still another shore ladder that led up to a cocky weather vane
that was twisting above like a whirling dervish.  Up this and touch the
weather vane, look down, and come down.

    It's easier going up than coming down - back to the eighty-sixth floor,
and there was Earl MUSSELMAN, the boy who once blind and who yesterday stood
on the balcony of the 102d floor, and pointed out the Chrysler Building and
traced the outline of the city's jagged water line on the window pane.


    He peered from that window enclosure as if the power and the blessedness
of sight was too much a joy to ever turn from its revelations.
    "I see water and great white buildings.  I never knew New York was so
little.  Its looks to me like such a lot of everything and so little of
anything - this is the treat of my life."

    Sight has come slowly to this boy who has found a new life through his
eyes.  His eagerness is a thing apart from average enthusiasm.  He has seen
his dream and found fulfillment far in excess of imagination.
    "What is that white space?" he asked.  And, then his eyes grew used to
the "white space" that he thought was moving.  "Now, I see, I see - it's

    His confusion is lessening and as he looks to find new things he cries
out in amazement.  "Now I get that.  It's beautiful, so beautiful."

    His viewing New York, lying like a rugged valley in the foothills of a
man-made mountain of stone, was practically his first conception of depth.
He has looked into the distance and stared up to the sky, and yesterday he
searched the depths for response to his sight - and found it.

    Last night, the eighty-sixth floor of the Empire State Building was
converted into a dance floor.  The city was twinkling bright-eyed at New
York's tallest monitor.

Transcriber: Barbara Stein