The Chrysler Building (Art Deco)

Old Police Headquarters (Edwardian Baroque style at 240 Centre Street)

Saint Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral
-- a touch of Moscow on the Upper East Side at 15 East 97th Street
(design based on 17th Century Baroque churches in Moscow)

The Blue Building, designed by Bernard Tschumi, is viewed here from Essex Street
on the Lower East Side. 

This uniquely shaped, 17-story building is very innovative with its irregular pattern of pixilated blue and black windows that almost sparkle and contracts sharply with the old tenement buildings of this neighborhood.

Bank of America Tower
a new spiral-topped "Eco-Friendly SkyScraper"
-- the second tallest in the City
and the fourth tallest in the country

Although modern skyscrapers dominate today’s New York City skyline, the City is a living illustration and history of 19th Century architectural styles and the craftsmanship that went into the construction of many of the older buildings in New York is unbelievable.  Row houses (three to five story narrow buildings with windows in the front and back) of various styles were constructed from 1800 – 1930.  Brownstone row houses became very popular in many parts of the City.  Detailed descriptions of these styles can be found in the Guide to New York City Landmarks and they include:

  • Federal (1800 – 1835) the first architectural style of a newly liberated country of America and a modified style of Georgian buildings in London;
  • Greek Revival (1830 – 1850)
  • Gothic Revival (1840 – 1860)
  • Italianate Style (1840 – 1870)
  • Anglo-Italianate Style (1840 – 1860)
  • Second Empire Style (1860 – 1875)
  • Neo-Grec Style (1865 – 1885)
  • The Queen Anne (1870 – 1890) and Romanesque Revival Style (1880 – 1890), and
  •  European Revival Style (1880 - 1925) 
In the late 1890s and early 1900s the "City Beautiful Movement," a progressive reform and urban planning and architecture movement, was inspired by architect Daniel Burnham (the Flatiron Building) and his design of the 1893 World Columbian Exposition in Chicago.  In New York City the movement led to the use of the Beau Arts architectural style in many buildings including several now famous landmark ones:  the U.S. Custom House (1907), the New York Public Library (1911) and Grand Central Terminal (1913).

Not surprising, there were a number of prominent and successful architects who lived in New York and competition for assignments could be fierce.  Some important ones were:
  • CASS GILBERT (1859 - 1934), the Woolworth Building and the Washington's U.S. Supreme Court
  • RAYMOND HOOD (1881 - 1934), the Daily News Building, McGraw-Hill Building and Rockefeller Center
  • RICHARD MORRIS HUNT (1827 - 1895):  Carnegie Hall, the Roosevelt Building, the facade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the base of the Statue of Liberty, William K. Vanderbilt's mansion on 52nd Street & Fifth Avenue and many other mansions including the Vanderbilt House in Asheville, North Carolina
  • JAMES RENSWICK (1818 - 1895):  Grace Church, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Our Lady of the Scapular and St. Stephen (E. 28th Street) and Washington's Corcoran Gallery and the Smithsonia Institution.
  • EMERY ROTH (1871 - 1948):  Hotel Belleclaire (Broadway & 76th Street), the Ritz Tower, the Oliver Cromwell Hotel, the Beresford Apartments, The Eldorado, the Ritz-Carlton, Villard Houses, and the First Warsaw Congregation Synagogue in the East Village.
  • CHARLES MCKIM, WILLIAM MEAD and STANFORD WHITE of the firm of McKim, Mead and White were responsible for the design of numerous city buildings including the original Penn Station and Madison Square Garden, the New York Life Insurance Building, the Cable Building, the Players Club, the Municipal Building and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  This firm was instrumental in bringing a favor of Old World European architectural designs into new modern forms for the New World and New York City.

During the last five years, residential tower skyscrapers and apartment complexes have been or are being designed for Manhattan -- often by well-known international architects.  The New York Times has called this current period the "narcissistic age."  Some see these designs as innovative architecture; others find them "flashy expressions of architectural vanity."  It will be interesting to witness how these building change the City's skyline.  Some of them include:

  • a 74-story Beekman Street tower near City Hall designed by FRANK GEHRY;
  • Palazzo Chupi on West 11th Street designed by JULIAN SCHANBEL
  • a high rise on West 23rd Street at High Line Park designed by NEAL DENARI; and
  • a 75-story museum tower designed byJEAN NOUVELfor the Museum of Modern Art on a small lot at West 53rd Street will be a tall, thin, needle-like glass skyscraper evoking a classic New York architectural design and was inspired by the drawings of Hugh Ferriss.  Nouvel has also created a 13-story condominium in SoHo at 40 Mercer Street.  This design features retractable glass walls and blue and red windows.
  • Buildings designed by RICHARD MEIER at 173/176 Perry Street in the West Village have changed the Village skyline and been opposed by many.  Meier uses white-steel and floor to ceiling glass walls in many of his modern designs, and
  • the new Bank of America Tower near Bryant Park and 42nd Street and the main branch of the New York Public Library.
  • Architect Costas Kondsylis is a favorite of Donald Trump and has designed the Trump World Tower and the Trump International Hotel and Tower.