New York Skyscrapers

New York is the world's ultimate skyscraper city. Already at the end of the 19th century, the limited space on Manhattan caused developers to build ever taller towers. During the course of the 20th century, no less than 8 different skyscrapers in New York held the title of the world's tallest building. Such a long domination resulted in large number of truly historical buildings, with a great variety in architectural styles.

Below you find a small selection of the city's most interesting skyscrapers; for a more exhaustive list, have a look at the New York City Buildings page.
40 Wall Street
40 Wall StreetFact Sheet
Built in 1929 as the headquarters of the Bank of Manhattan, this was intended to be the world's tallest building. The Chrysler Building however, which was being built at around the same time, eventually became taller than originally announced, taking the title of world's tallest instead.   Read More...
70 Pine Street
70 Pine StreetFact Sheet
Lower Manhattan's tallest building - an elegant 67 story art deco structure - was completed just before the Great Depression, at the height of New York's skyscraper- building frenzy.
American Radiator Building
American Radiator BuildingFact Sheet
This conspicuous black building with a gilded crown is one of Raymond Hood's New York masterpieces. The 22 story building, located at Bryant Park, was built in 1924 as an office tower for the American Radiator Company. In 2001 it reopened as the Bryant Park Hotel.   Read More...
Chanin Building
Chanin BuildingFact Sheet
The construction of the Grand Central Terminal created a boost of economic activity in the area, fertile ground for tall skyscrapers. The first of several iconic skyscrapers built around the station was the 1929 Chanin Building, named after its developer Irwin S. Chanin.   Read More...
Chrysler Building
Chrysler BuildingFact Sheet
The Chrysler Building's elegant spire - modeled after a radiator grille - not only made the building taller than its competitor (the Bank of Manhattan Building) in the race for the world's tallest building, but it also made the Chrysler Building New York's most beloved skyscraper.   Read More...
Citigroup Center
Citigroup CenterFact Sheet
One of New York's most successful modern skyscrapers rests on large columns, opening up space for the St. Peter's Church, a public plaza and a subway station. The tower's angled roof line was a welcome diversion from the flat rooftop lines of contemporary buildings.   Read More...
Daily News Building
Daily News BuildingFact Sheet
With the construction of this 37 story building, Raymond Hood departed from the gothic designs he used in previous skyscrapers like the American Radiator Building and the Tribune Tower in Chicago. The top of the building is unornamented, a first for skyscrapers in New York.   Read More...
Empire State Building
Empire State BuildingFact Sheet
The most famous of all skyscrapers, the Empire State Building was the world's tallest for 41 years. Its sheer size caught people's imagination when it was completed in 1931 after just one year of construction. Today New York's tallest skyscraper is still one of city's most visited attractions.   Read More...
Equitable Building
Equitable BuildingFact Sheet
When this 39 story building was completed in 1915 it caused a public outcry as the building cast large shadows, leaving nearby streets in the Financial District without any sunlight. This led to the new zoning regulations one year later resulting in skyscrapers with setbacks prevalent during the 1920s and early 30s.
Flatiron Building
Flatiron BuildingFact Sheet
When the Fuller Building was completed in 1902, locals soon dubbed the 21 story skyscraper 'Flatiron Building' for its triangular shape. Even though it was never the tallest building in New York, the Flatiron became one of the city's most photographed buildings.   Read More...
GE Building
GE BuildingFact Sheet
The centerpiece of Rockefeller Center, an enormous complex built during the Great Depression as 'Radio City', is still one of New York's tallest buildings. Recently the roof terrace of this 70 story Art Deco building reopened offering visitors some of the city's greatest views over midtown and Central Park.   Read More...
Hearst Tower
Hearst TowerFact Sheet
In 1928 a six-story base was built as the headquarters of William Hearst's publishing empire. Another 12 stories were planned, but they were never realised. 78 Years later a postmodern glass tower was constructed on top of the Art Deco base.
Lever House
Lever HouseFact Sheet
It may now look like an ordinary glass building, but when the Lever House opened in 1952 it was a revolutionary skyscraper, the first glass tower in a forest of brick and limestone buildings. The Lever House would become a blueprint for internationalist skyscrapers prevalent in the following decades.   Read More...
Lipstick Building
Lipstick BuildingFact Sheet
Philip Johnson's elliptic-shaped skyscraper contrasts with all the surrounding rectangular buildings on Third Avenue. Unlike his other famous building in New York, the former AT&T Building, the Lipstick building is void of any ornaments. Its oval shape and setbacks make it look like a gigantic lipstick, hence the unusual name.
Metlife Building (formerly PanAm)
Metlife Building (formerly PanAm)Fact Sheet
This behemoth scores consistently high on 'ugliest building' charts. Its sheer size, blocking the view of the 1929 Helmsley Building on Park Avenue caused a public outcry. This quintessential big-city building is probably more disliked for its awkward location rather than its aesthetics (or lack thereof).   Read More...
Metropolitan Life Insurance Tower
Metropolitan Life Insurance TowerFact Sheet
This classical tower, modeled after the 16th century Campanile in Venice, was the world's tallest building between 1909 and 1913. Some New Yorkers, at the time not yet comfortable with skyscrapers even feared the tower would collapse like its orinigal did in 1902.   Read More...
Municipal Building
Municipal BuildingFact Sheet
In order to house the growing number of civil services the City of New York commissioned this gigantic building in 1908. Completed in 1913, the Municipal Building features many classical elements such as the Corinthian colonnade at the base and the cylindrical colonnaded drum at its top.   Read More...
Park Row Building
Park Row BuildingFact Sheet
This Beaux-Arts skyscrapers is one of many New York buildings with the honor of having held the title of 'world's tallest'. At 391ft or 119m, this was indeed the tallest building in the world in 1899. Now dwarfed by many, the buildings still holds its own thanks to its unique silhouette and its location near city hall park.   Read More...
Seagram Building
Seagram BuildingFact Sheet
Mies van der Rohe's New York legacy became a prototype for the skyscrapers of the 1960s and 1970s: tall functional glass and steel towers void of any ornamentation combined with a large plaza. Built in 1958, this arrangement was in line with New York's 1961 zoning regulations which emphasized the use of open space.   Read More...
Time Warner Center
Time Warner CenterFact Sheet
The modern twin towers of the Time Warner Center loom over Columbus Circle, a roundabout at a corner of Central Park. Built in 2004 as the headquarters for the Time Warner corporation, this is one of the more successful modern skyscrapers in New York.
Trump Tower
Trump TowerFact Sheet
The epitome of the 1980s building boom, the black granite Trump Tower is a popular destination for the many tourists on Fifth Avenue. It is however not so popular with architecture critics.   Read More...
UN Secretariat
UN SecretariatFact Sheet
Designed by a committee of international architects, the New York Headquarters of the United Nations features the Secretariat building: a giant slab in international style with a green glass 'curtain', the first such building in New York in 1950.   Read More...
Waldorf Astoria
Waldorf AstoriaFact Sheet
The Waldorf-Astoria hotel, one of the city's ritziest hotels, was the tallest and largest hotel in the world when it opened in 1931. It replaced the first Waldorf-Astoria which made way for the construction of the Empire State Building.   Read More...
Williamsburgh Savings Bank
Williamsburgh Savings BankFact Sheet
One of only a handful of interesting skyscrapers outside Manhattan, this Brooklyn building is the most eye-catching thanks to its height and beautiful Art Deco architecture. Towering over Brooklyn, the building featured an observation deck with great 360 degree views but it closed in the 1990s.   Read More...
Woolworth Building
Woolworth BuildingFact Sheet
Dubbed the 'Cathedral of Commerce' for its Gothic ornamentation, the Woolworth Building was constructed between 1910 and 1913 as the headquarters of the Woolworth company. At 794ft or 242m this was the world's tallest building for 17 years.   Read More...
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