The Empire State Building Is Also a Blimp Docking Station
The Mundane Landmark:
If you've never been inside the Empire State Building, let us save you like 30 bucks: It's a regular office building. Yeah, the view is kinda cool from up there, but you spend most of the time looking at normal building interiors as you wait in line. You're paying to relive the experience of going to the bank, except no one hands you money at the end.
BobbyÂ Mikul/ PublicDomainPictures.net
Unless you bring a knife, and that's frowned upon.
But It's Also ...
The Empire State Building was designed with a more exciting purpose in mind, though: as a docking station for passing airships. As in the blimps would park there and passengers would go down a gangplank and be on the street in seven minutes.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Or six seconds, if you piss off the stewardess.
The above is a composite photo created in the 1930s to convey this totally sound and practical idea. In fact, this is the official purpose for that thing at the top: The Empire State Building's famous spire was built as a mooring mast for zeppelins, and the 103rd floor was to serve as the landing platform. So in addition to being the tallest man-made structure in the world at the time, it was supposed to double as a supervillain lair. The leader of the investors, Alfred E. Smith, who may or may not have read too many Buck Rogers pulps, envisioned the building as a looming blimp station in the middle of New York City. This one's real:
"We'll also add a charging station up there for the blimp's death rays and robo-servants."