The Empire State Plaza @ 50

On June 21, 1965 the cornerstone was laid for what would become The Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza. Marketed at the time as a “Design for the Future,” the Plaza exists today as an icon of 20th century modernist architecture.

On June 21, 2015, Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn M. Destito welcomed representatives from state and city government, labor leaders, and a number of special guests who worked on the construction of the plaza to a kickoff event for “The Empire State Plaza at 50” — a new exhibit at the New York State Museum.

Construction of the Plaza began in 1965 with the laying of the cornerstone and was completed in 1978 upon the opening of the Egg. During peak construction, over 2,500 workers helped to build the Plaza, from a variety of local trade unions. Overall, it took the removal of over 3.1 million cubic yards of earth to make way for the Plaza. The construction of the Plaza is just one of the subjects covered in the exhibit.

New York State is marking the 50th anniversary of the Empire State Plaza and the story of how the center of New York’s capital city became a public space where government, culture, and community converge with a number of events culminating in the “Plaza at 50” festival on September 16.

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