Corning Tower Albany Skyline

Virtual Visit: Mayor Erastus Corning 2nd Tower

Explore the modern architecture of the Mayor Erastus Corning 2nd Tower at the Empire State Plaza.
Virtual Visit: Mayor Erastus Corning 2nd Tower

Virtual Visit: Mayor Erastus Corning 2nd Tower

Explore the modern architecture of the Mayor Erastus Corning 2nd Tower at the Empire State Plaza.

Fast Facts


  1. The Corning Tower was designed by Empire State Plaza architect Wallace K. Harrison. Harrison was also an architect for projects such as the United Nations Headquarters and Rockefeller Center.
  2. At 44 floors high, the Corning Tower is the tallest building in New York State outside of New York City.
  3. The Corning Tower is 589 feet tall—thirty-four feet taller than the Washington Monument.
  4. The outside of the tower consists of 5,920 panes of glass and 5,000 tons of marble.
  5. The Corning Tower can be seen from Thatcher State Park.
  6. On the roof of the tower is a machine that raises and lowers a platform for window washers, which moves along on tracks. Some of these tracks can be seen from the Observation Deck.


What other buildings in New York did Wallace K. Harrison design?
Harrison designed the United Nations building, Lincoln Center and Rockefeller Center, LaGuardia Airport, and the Trylon and Perisphere for the 1939’s World Fair.

How many buildings make up the Empire State Plaza?
The Corning Tower is one of eleven buildings making up the Empire State Plaza.

What is the International Style of architecture?
The term “International Style” originated in 1932 and refers to a style of unadorned rectangular surfaces made from steel, glass, and reinforced concrete.

Did Mayor Erastus Corning serve in the New York State Legislature?
In 1935, Corning served in the New York State Assembly for two years before serving in the New York State Senate.

Throughout his 41 years as Mayor of Albany, did Corning ever take a leave of absence?
In 1944, Corning took a leave of absence to serve in the US Army during World War II.

Was Corning born into a political family?
Corning’s family was very involved in local and state government. His great-grandfather served as Albany’s Mayor in 1834 and his father served as New York’s Lieutenant Governor from 1926 to 1928.

What is in the part of the tower covered in marble?
Office space takes up much of the tower covered in windows, while the marble section houses elevator bays and utilities. The marble also covers the steel core that holds up the entire structure.

How big is the Corning Tower compared to the other towers in the Plaza?
The Corning Tower takes up 44 floors and has 927,423 square feet of floor space. Each one of the four Agency Building towers have 23 floors with 198,196 square feet of space. That means the Corning Tower is slightly bigger than all four Agency Buildings combined! For comparison, the Empire State Building in New York City is 2.8 million square feet.

Who works in the Corning Tower?
The Corning Tower is primarily occupied by New York State’s Department of Health and the NYS Office of General Services, which has overseen the construction and maintenance of every building in the Empire State Plaza.