3. The Docking of Blimps — Did It Happen?

Spire of Empire State Building

It’s a common misconception that there was a docking station at the top of the Empire State Building for blimps and zeppelins. Siobhan tells us that Raskob and his team did have intentions to include a docking station at the top, but the engineers told them that it was “the worst idea they’d ever heard.” Nonetheless, the engineers followed the directive and tested the docking of a blimp twice. Siobhan says those tests took place “once before we were open and then again another time when it was beautiful blue skies. It was a failure both times. We never successfully docked people into the top of the Empire State Building.”

In 2010, the New York Times also reported that the although the plan for a docking station was real, the docking of an airship, including these famous photographs of the docking didn’t fully occur and that the famous photo above is a “composite, a fake.” But a Navy airship hovered around the tower amidst treacherous winds at the request of a newsreel company.