Welcome, welcome! Hope you've been enjoying your New York tour. I'm sure everything’s been great so far, but in the words of Al Jolson, "You ain't heard nothing yet!"
Join me as we take a bite out of this big old apple by examining one of its hallmarks, the Empire State bldg. I know, it's not the tallest in town anymore. But since it opened in 1931, the Empire State Building has remained a beloved New York City landmark. And it's a favorite setting for storytellers. Why, this Art Deco skyscraper is a symbol of romance, danger, and the city that never sleeps!
Now, this tour will be different. Rather than using one of the 73 elevators, we'll be using our imagination! And we won't be talking about the floors, or stories. Instead, we're focusing on the tales, the stories, this edifice has inspired!
There are many, but we're going to look at only two. And like good stories, let's talk about the setting, the drama, and the romance! That's right, let's talk about two stories. They take place during two different time periods, and in the same building.
As we said, the setting is the Empire State building. The setting of a story can't be overlooked. In fact, many stories fail due to being unclear on this point. A reader needs to know "where am I? Where is the action taking place?"
Whether they've been there or not, knowing the location makes the reader feel at home in the story. But you don't care about all that. You're not writers, you're on vacation! Let me tell you about the most recent time this tall building was the setting for a great love story.
The Love Story
Modern-day Annie writes widower Sam a letter once she hears his sad story on the radio. She suggests they meet atop the Empire State Building on Valentine’s Day. Sam’s son, Jonah, learns about it and takes matters into his own hands. With help from a friend, he travels by himself all the way from Seattle to NYC to meet Annie.
Sam flies cross country and finally catches up with his young son. Where? You guessed it, on the observation deck of the Empire State Building waiting to meet Annie.
This harebrained scheme results in a chance meeting between Annie and Sam. There are various subplots, but the story has a romantic conclusion. The building’s role in this story capitalized on its history as a pop-culture icon. How's that for all you lovers out there?
The Action-Adventure Story
Next, I'd like to turn your attention to the action-adventure story. It's also a love story, but it's only one-sided. This one took place in 1933, just two years after opening the doors of the Empire State Building. This mammoth skyscraper was the setting for one of the most iconic moments in story-telling history! At the conclusion of this action-packed tale, an oversized ape rampages through NYC. How did he try to escape?
Right again, he climbed to the top of the skyscraper, with Ann in hand. He battled with several airplanes while hanging onto the building’s spire. After putting Ann down, he finally succumbed to his injuries and plummeted to his death. A lot of folks thought the planes got him, but really "twas beauty killed the beast.”
Compare and Contrast
So how are these two stories alike and how are they different? Let's look at the similarities first.
Both stories deal with issues not related to the city or the colossal building. The building only comes into the picture at the climax of the story. In the modern-day love story, Sam, the widower lives in Seattle and only ends up in NYC after following his son there. In the action-adventure story, Kong lives on Skull Island. He is only in NYC after being captured while following after Ann.
And how about the fact that both stories have a main character named "Ann" or "Annie"? How's that for coincidence?
There is also the pursuit of one character after the other. They are convinced that the other will love them once they get together. After learning of Sam's situation, Annie is willing to give up everything. She was already engaged. Once her fiancé recognized that she had checked out of the relationship, he asked for the ring back.
Kong was a king on his island. Once he saw Ann, he wouldn't give her up. He chased after her relentlessly across the island. He even crossed the bridge to where the humans lived. He ran right into a trap. What other similarities?
Both couples were matched up by well-meaning outsiders. In the modern-day story, a radio show heard by Sam's son, Jonah, started the ball rolling. Jonah wanted them together to make his Dad happy and to have a new mother.
What about the action-adventure? The movie director and the inhabitants of the island were the matchmakers. Each had their own reasons for delivering Ann to the giant ape. Now, what about differences?
Well, there are a few of those as well. First off, one story is a Rom-Com, short for Romantic Comedy. The audience is rooting for the attractive couple to finally meet. The whole story is about them getting together.
The action-adventure is exciting. There are thrills and chills and daring escapes. But it's really a tragedy. Ann does not love Kong. She is his captive. And he does not willingly chase her to NYC, he is taken there in chains.
And the endings are vastly different. Our love story ends with Jimmy Durante singing a beautiful song. The lovebirds start their new life together. While the action-adventure, the tragedy, ends with Kong being shot and falling 1250 ft to his death.
There you have it, friends and neighbors. Two vastly different stories from different time periods. Yet they both took place in the same location.
Didn't I tell you this would be a tour like none you've ever had before? Now, when you look up at this building, don't just see the brick and mortar.
Don't just focus on the fact that the Empire State building has 2.8 million square ft of rentable space. Or that it has offices for Shutterstock and LinkedIn and the like. Never mind that this building is so large that it has its own zip code. It's 10118 by the way.
Remember, this building has a history and it's full of stories. Some are real, some are imagined. Some are romantic and some are tragic.
Thanks for joining us today, tips are always welcome, and enjoy your stay in New York City!