There are few things more iconic in New York City than its skyline. NY’s architectural expert Alexander Meskouris says the buildings that make up this skyline are some of the most famous in the world and have come to represent the city and the United States. Here are some of the most iconic buildings in Manhattan’s skyline.
The Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is a 102-story Art Deco skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Designed by Shreve, Lamb & Harmon and completed in 1931, the building has a roof height of 1,250 feet (380 m) and a total of 1,454 feet tall, including its antenna. Its name is derived from the nickname New York, the Empire State. It stood as the world’s tallest building for nearly 40 years until the completion of the World Trade Center’s North Tower in 1970. Following the September 11 attacks in 2001, it regained the title of the tallest building in New York City and New York State and held both titles until One World Trade Center reached a greater height in April 2012.
Alexander Meskouris says it is currently ranked as the 28th-tallest building in the United States and the 106th-tallest building in the world. The Empire State Building is an American cultural icon. It is designed in the distinctive Art Deco style and has been named one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. The building and its street-level interior are designated landmarks by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission and confirmed by the New York City Board of Estimates. It was established as a National Historic Landmark in 1986. In 2007, it was ranked number one on the AIA’s List of America’s Favorite Architecture.
The Chrysler Building
The Chrysler Building is an Art Deco-style skyscraper in the Turtle Bay area of Manhattan, New York City, at the east end of 42nd Street, between Lexington and Third Avenues. Standing 1050 ft tall, it was briefly the world’s tallest building before being surpassed by the Empire State Building in 1931. It is still the tallest brick building in the world with a steel frame. As of 2018, the Chrysler is the ninth-tallest building in New York City, the tenth-tallest in the United States, and the 55th-tallest in the world. It is also notable for its terraced crown, whose seven radiating terracotta arches create one of the most distinctive skylines in New York and are also recognized as one of the city’s best-known landmarks.
The Rockefeller Center
The Rockefeller Center is a complex of commercial buildings covering 22 acres between 48th and 51st Streets in New York City. Commissioned by the wealthy industrialist John D. Rockefeller Jr. and developed by his company, Associated Architects & Engineers Inc., it was completed between 1930 and 1939. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987 and a National Registered Historic Place in 1988. It is also a New York City designated Landmark.
Alexander Meskouris says the center consists of 14 Art Deco buildings from the 1930s, ranging in height from 19 to 77 stories, that commercial house offices and retail outlets, with public plazas and concourses between them. It covers 22 acres and includes more than 100 shops and restaurants, several theaters, an ice rink, and a subway station. The complex has been featured in numerous films and television programs since its opening.
Radio City Music Hall
Radio City Music Hall is an entertainment venue located at 1260 Avenue of the Americas in Rockefeller Center in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Built by architect Edward Durell Stone and designer Donald Deskey for the Rockefeller Center, it opened on December 27, 1932, as Radio City Music Hall. It is notable as the headquarters for the precision dance company, The Rockettes.
One World Trade Center
One World Trade Center is the main building of the rebuilt World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan, New York City. One WTC is the tallest building in the United States, taller than the Empire State Building by about 30 feet. The new skyscraper stands on the northwest corner of the 16-acre World Trade Center site, on the original six-story low-rise world trade center complex completed in 1970 and destroyed in 2001 during terrorist attacks.
The building’s architect is David Childs, whose firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill also designed the new building’s core and superstructure. Childs led the team of designers from 2006 until June 2012, when he was replaced as a lead designer by Bjarke Ingels. The building is owned and operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ).
Alexander Meskouris says the design of One World Trade Center has been criticized for its perceived similarity to buildings such as the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong and 30 St Mary Axe in London; however, others have praised it as one of the best examples of contemporary architecture in the United States.
There are many iconic buildings on Manhattan’s skyline, each with unique features. The Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, the Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, and One World Trade Center are some of the most notable. Each building has been featured in films and television programs and is recognized as one of the city’s best-known landmarks. If you’re ever in New York City, take some time to check out these iconic buildings for yourself!