New York’s skyscrapers dominate it’s skyline and have given the city many of the it’s landmark buildings.
Effectively the birthplace of the modern skyscraper the city and it’s tallest buildings are inseparable and it would be hard to imagine New York without them.
Below are some of the most famous skyscrapers in New York City altered the profile of Manhattan and gave it it’s signature look.
Famous Skyscrapers in New York
1. Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is a 102-story building in Midtown Manhattan that was built in the Art Deco style. Shreve, Lamb, and Harmon designed the building, which was built between 1930 and 1931.
Its name comes from the fact that New York is called the “Empire State.” The roof of the building is 1,250 feet (380 meters) high, and the whole building is 1,454 feet tall (443.2 meters).
Before the World Trade Center was built in 1970, the Empire State Building was the tallest building in the world. After the World Trade Center fell in 2001, the Empire State Building was again the tallest building in New York City until it was surpassed in 2012.
As of 2022, the building is the seventh-tallest in New York City, the ninth-tallest finished skyscraper in the United States, the 54th-tallest in the world, and the sixth-tallest freestanding structure in the Americas.
In 1893, on the west side of Fifth Avenue between West 33rd and 34th Streets, where the Empire State Building is now, the Waldorf–Astoria Hotel was built. Empire State Inc. bought the land in 1929 and made plans to build a tall building there.
After construction started on March 17, 1930, the building didn’t open until May 1, 1931. Even though the building got a lot of good press when it was built, the owners didn’t make money until the early 1950s because of the Great Depression and World War II.
Because of its Art Deco style, height, and observation decks, it has become a well-known place to visit. Four million people visit the building’s observatories on the 86th and 102nd floors every year. In 2019, a new indoor observatory opened on the 80th floor.
2. One World Trade Center
One World Trade Center is the centerpiece of Lower Manhattan, New York City’s restored World Trade Center complex.
One WTC is the highest structure in the United States, the Western Hemisphere, and the seventh-tallest structure in the world. The supertall tower has the same name as the North Tower of the first World Trade Center, which was demolished in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
The new tower lies on the location of the old 6 World Trade Center in the northwest corner of the 16-acre (6.5 hectare) World Trade Center complex.
David Childs, whose company Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) also designed the Burj Khalifa and the Willis Tower, is the building’s architect.
On April 27, 2006, the construction of below-ground utility relocations, footings, and foundations for the new building began. One World Trade Center overtook the Empire State Building on April 30, 2012, to become the highest building in New York City.
The steel framework of the skyscraper was completed on August 30, 2012. On May 10, 2013, the last component of the skyscraper’s spire was erected, bringing the overall height of the structure, including the spire, to 1,776 ft (541 m).
Its height in feet represents the year in which the United States Declaration of Independence was signed. The structure was inaugurated on November 3, 2014, and the One World Observatory on May 29, 2015.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced on March 26, 2009, that the structure will be recognized by its legal name, “One World Trade Center,” instead of its vernacular appellation, “Freedom Tower.” The building has 94 floors, with the 104th level being the highest.
Five high-rise business buildings will be constructed along Greenwich Street, and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum will be constructed directly south of One World Trade Center, where the original Twin Towers formerly stood.
Following the demolition of the old World Trade Center complex, the construction of the new structure is part of an attempt to remember and rebuild.
3. Chrysler Building
The Chrysler Building is an Art Deco skyscraper located at the junction of 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue in Midtown Manhattan on the East Side of Manhattan’s Turtle Bay area.
It is the world’s highest brick building with a steel structure at 1,046 feet (319 meters), and it was the world’s tallest building for 11 months following its completion in 1930. As of 2019, the Chrysler is tied with The New York Times Building for eleventh-tallest building in the city.
The structure was created by Walter Chrysler, the chairman and CEO of the Chrysler Corporation.
The construction of the Chrysler Structure, an early skyscraper, was marked by rivalry with 40 Wall Street and the Empire State Building to be the highest building in the world.
Although the Chrysler Building was constructed and planned expressly for the automobile business, the company never paid for its construction and never owned it. Instead, Walter Chrysler financed the whole cost so that his children might inherit it.
In 1952, an extension was erected, and the Chrysler family sold the building the following year, with various succeeding owners.
When the Chrysler Building first debuted, its design was met with a variety of opinions, ranging from the notion that it was inane and unimaginative to that it was contemporary and iconic.
The American Institute of Architects rated it eighth on the List of America’s Favorite Architecture in 2007. Perceptions of the building have gradually shifted, and it is now regarded as a prime example of the Art Deco architectural style.
The building was named a New York City landmark in 1978 and listed as a National Historic Landmark on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.
4. Woolworth Building
The Woolworth Building is an early American skyscraper constructed by Cass Gilbert and situated at 233 Broadway in Manhattan’s Tribeca area.
From 1913 through 1930, it was the tallest structure in the world, at 792 feet tall (241 m). It is still one among the top 100 tallest buildings in the United States more than a century after it was built.
The Woolworth Building is surrounded to the east by Broadway and City Hall Park, to the north by Park Place, and to the south by Barclay Street. It has a 30-story base and a 30-story tower on top.
Its exterior is largely made of architectural terracotta, although the lower sections are made of limestone, and it has hundreds of windows. Sculptures, mosaics, and architectural accents adorn the beautiful foyer.
The building was built with a number of facilities and attractions, including a now-closed observatory on the 57th level and a private swimming pool in the basement.
F. W. Woolworth, the creator of a successful five-and-ten-cent shop chain, envisioned the tower as a corporate headquarters. Woolworth designed the tower in collaboration with the Irving National Exchange Bank, which decided to utilize it as its headquarters.
The Woolworth Building was intended to be a 12- to 16-story commercial structure, but it underwent various alterations throughout the design phase.
The ultimate height was not determined until January 1911. Construction began in 1910 and was finished two years later. The structure was dedicated on April 24, 1913.
Since 1966, the Woolworth Building has been a National Historic Landmark, and it has also been a New York City recognized landmark since 1983.
5. 30 Rockefeller Plaza
30 Rockefeller Plaza (officially the Comcast Building; previously the RCA Building and the GE Building) is a skyscraper in New York City’s Midtown Manhattan district that serves as the centerpiece of Rockefeller Center.
Raymond Hood, Rockefeller Center’s primary architect, built the 66-story, 850-foot (260-meter) structure in the Art Deco style and completed it in 1933.
From its inception in 1933 through 1988, 30 Rockefeller Plaza was known as the Radio Corporation of America (RCA), and subsequently as General Electric until 2015, when it was renamed after its current owner, Comcast.
The skyscraper also contains NBC’s headquarters and New York studios; the headquarters is commonly referred to as 30 Rock, a moniker that inspired an NBC comedy of the same name.
The building is the highest structure in Rockefeller Center, the 28th tallest in New York City, and the 60th tallest in the United States.
6. 432 Park Avenue
432 Park Avenue is a residential skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, located at 57th Street and Park Avenue and overlooking Central Park.
The 1,396-foot-tall (425.5-meter) skyscraper was designed by Rafael Violy and developed by CIM Group and Harry B. Macklowe. 432 Park Avenue, located on Billionaires’ Row, boasts some of the most expensive houses in the city, with the typical unit selling for tens of millions of dollars.
432 Park Avenue was the third-highest structure in the United States and the tallest residential building in the world when it was completed. As of 2022, it is the sixth-tallest structure in the United States, the fifth-tallest structure in New York City, and the world’s third-tallest residential structure.
432 Park Avenue contains 84 numbered storeys and an above-ground mezzanine. The façade of the skyscraper is a poured-in-place concrete lattice constructed of white Portland cement.
The skyscraper is divided into 12-story blocks that are separated by open double-story mechanical gaps that enable wind gusts to flow through. It has 125 units and facilities for residents such as a private restaurant.
Both experts and the general public have given the building mixed evaluations, with comments concerning its slenderness as well as its significance as a house for the ultra-wealthy.
432 Park Avenue is built on the site of the former Drake Hotel, which Macklowe purchased in 2006. The project was delayed for five years due to a lack of funding and difficulty in obtaining the properties on the site.
432 Park Avenue’s construction plans were authorized in 2011, and excavations started the following year. Sales at 432 Park Avenue began in 2013; the project was finished in 2015 after topping out in October 2014.
Residents complained about mechanical and structural issues when the building was completed, prompting a lawsuit in late 2021.
7. 40 Wall Street(Trump Building)
40 Wall Street, popularly known as the Trump Building, is a 927-foot (283-meter) neo-Gothic skyscraper on Wall Street between Nassau and William streets in Manhattan’s Financial District.
The Manhattan Company Building, built in 1929–1930 as the headquarters of the Manhattan Company, was also known as the Bank of Manhattan Trust Building and the Manhattan Company Building until its founding tenant amalgamated to establish the Chase Manhattan Bank. It was created by H. Craig Severance in collaboration with Yasuo Matsui and Shreve & Lamb.
The structure is situated on an L-shaped plot of land. While the lowest half has a limestone front, the upper levels have a buff-brick exterior and various setbacks. The façade also has spandrels between the windows on each storey, which are recessed behind the vertical piers.
A pyramid with a spire at its apex stands atop the structure. The main banking room and board room of the Manhattan Company were on the lower levels, while the remaining stories were leased to tenants.
Throughout its history, ownership of the structure and the ground underneath it, as well as the leasehold on the building, has changed multiple times. Two German corporations have owned the building since 1982.
The leasehold was formerly owned by interests on behalf of former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, but in 1995, the lease was taken over by a corporation controlled by developer and then U.S. President Donald Trump.
8. Central Park Tower
Central Park Tower is a residential supertall skyscraper located at 225 West 57th Street in New York City’s Midtown Manhattan area, near Billionaires’ Row.
The structure, designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, is 1,550 feet (472 m) tall and has 98 above-ground levels and three basement stories, albeit the top story is numbered 136.
Central Park Tower is the second-highest skyscraper in New York City, the United States, and the Western Hemisphere; the 14th tallest structure in the world; the world’s tallest purely residential building; and the world’s tallest building by roof height outside of Asia.
Extell Development Company and Shanghai Municipal Investment Group created Central Park Tower. A big Nordstrom store, which opened in 2019, is located in the basement and the first five above-ground storeys.
The tower’s eastern section has a cantilever over the Art Students League of New York building at 215 West 57th Street, which is meant to optimize views of neighboring Central Park.
The residential component of the skyscraper has 179 residences, each measuring 5,000 square feet (460 square meters) and designed by Rottet Studio. There are further amenity areas on levels 14-16 and a private club on floor 100.
9. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower
The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower is a skyscraper that takes up a whole block in Manhattan’s Flatiron District.
The structure is divided into two sections: a 700-foot-tall (210-meter) tower at the block’s northwest corner, at Madison Avenue and 24th Street, and a shorter east wing comprising the rest of the block surrounded by Madison Avenue, Park Avenue South, 23rd Street, and 24th Street.
The Metropolitan Home Office Complex, which includes the South Building and the North Building right across 24th Street, was formerly the headquarters of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (now publicly known as MetLife).
The tower of the South Building was designed by Napoleon LeBrun & Sons and built between 1905 and 1909. The tower, which was inspired by St. Mark’s Campanile, has four clock faces, four bells, and lit beacons at its summit and was the highest structure in the world until 1913.
The tower previously housed Metropolitan Life’s offices, but since 2015, it has housed the New York Edition Hotel, a 273-room luxury hotel. The New York Municipal Landmarks Preservation Commission recognized the tower as a city landmark in 1989, and it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. In 1978, it was designated as a National Historic Landmark.
Lloyd Morgan and Eugene Meroni designed the east wing, which was built in two parts between 1953 and 1960. One Madison Avenue is another name for the east wing. It replaced another structure on the site, which was constructed in stages from 1893 to 1905 and was also designed by LeBrun’s studio.
The 700-foot tower was significantly refurbished when the modern east wing was completed. Work on an expansion to the east wing, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox and scheduled to be finished in 2023 or 2024, began in 2020.
10. 111 West 57th Street
111 West 57th Street, often known as Steinway Tower, is a supertall residential skyscraper in New York City’s Midtown Manhattan district.
It is located on the north side of 57th Street, near Sixth Avenue, and was developed by JDS Development Group and Property Markets Group. The primary structure of the project is an 84-story, 1,428-foot (435-meter) skyscraper designed by SHoP Architects and scheduled to be finished in 2021.
The Steinway Building (also known as Steinway Hall) is a 16-story former Steinway & Sons shop built by Warren and Wetmore and completed in 1925, with the location 111 West 57th Street.
There are 60 premium residences at 111 West 57th Street, 14 in Steinway Hall and 46 in the tower. The residential tower has a glass façade with terracotta piers; its pinnacle has setbacks on the southern side.
The tower is one of the highest structures in the United States and the world’s thinnest skyscraper, with a width-to-height ratio of around 1:24. Steinway Hall, a New York City registered landmark, with a brick, limestone, and terracotta front.
111 West 57th Street has several resident facilities, most of which are located at the building’s base, as well as a massive rotunda inside Steinway Hall, which is considered a municipal landmark.
Despite its size, the tower was formally built as an extension to Steinway Hall. The tower’s construction started in 2014, and Steinway Hall was renovated as part of the residential project.
The project experienced a number of hurdles, including funding issues, litigation, and labor disputes. The concrete form of the skyscraper was finished in April 2019, and construction was completed in 2022.