Empire State Building: How Long?


Here’s the picture. No life at all in the world, no DNA, no other biochemicals that I’ve never heard of.

How long would the Empire State building stay standing?

Alternative scenario (I saw this in the Kubrick/Spielberg AI move):
If it were covered to the tip in seawater, with or without sea life?

Thanks for reading this,

What would DNA have to do with the future existence of the Empire State Bldg?

I think he’s asking how long it would take the weather alone to cause the building’s collapse without any effects from plants or animals.

According to Life After People on the History Channel, you could expect it to give way after about 300 or 400 years.

I would be astounded if it lasted that long in the scenario presented in “Life After People”

Best case scenario is that within 100 years there would be more than enough vegetation to carry a fire. Then the building would be gone. If the fire itself didn’t topple it, it would crack the concrete casing and expose the internal framework to oxygen and water. I’d allow 100 years after that before it fell.

More pertinent to the OP, without people there is no maintenance. Of particular importance is that there is nobody operating the surrounding stormwater system or the basement pumps of the building. I find it implausible that a building with basement/foundations 20 or 30 metres below ground level, and probably below actual sea level, could stand for several hundred years without any maintenance.

Water and reinforced concrete aren’t a good mix.

But the OP appears to have ruled out vegetation.

Which is why I took pains to clarify that I was referring to"the scenario presented in “Life After People”", and why I then took pains to stipulate that I was moving on to speculation “More pertinent to the OP”.

We need a new name for a rule that states no matter how carefully, explicitely and repeatedly a poster clarifies a point, the very next poster will state that they didn’t clarify it.

Once the windows started to go and rain was able to get in, probably not that long (possibly decades rather than centuries). Water can do a lot of damage to buildings, especially when it gets cold enough to freeze, and expand in any cracks.

There is a bit of a precedent on a smaller scale. In Cyprus, there is an abondoned holiday resort in the United Nations buffer zone. I can’t find a cite now, but after 35 years it’s absolutely derelict.

How about the “Prickly Blake” rule?

(My apologies for failing to understand that your second paragraph was addressing “Life After People” instead of the OP. I agree that “More pertinent to the OP …” should have made this clear.)

Does the Empire State Building have basement pumps? I know its foundation is in the bedrock. Is there water permeating that bedrock? Would flooding really be a problem with presumably clogged storm drains in Manhattan? The island is still above sea level.