Architectural Heritage of New York: The “Big Apple” History In 10 Buildings

10:10 am  |  13.09.2020

New York is one of the most attractive cities in the world. A city of dreams, a city of mystery, a city of majestic skyscrapers and chic shops, a city that combines old Dutch houses and cobblestone streets with mirrored, sparkling towers of business centers and residential buildings, luxurious mansions in Greenwich Village with the ever-bustling Chinatown district.


Probably not in any other city in the world impossible to visit the nightclub located in the former building of the Anglican Church and see a striking example of modern American architecture, the largest and only monument of its kind, glorifying the American automobile tycoon. See an enchanting show on Broadway and visit the Guggenheim Museum, designed in the form of a spiral.

In this article, we would like to tell you about the most significant architectural buildings in New York.

The history of an amazing city – an enormous work has been done

Architectural Heritage of New York: Empire State Building
Architectural Heritage of New York: Empire State Building

New York architecture developed slowly and gradually. Each period in the development of the city was commemorated by the construction of very original buildings. According to experts, there are about 800 buildings in New York that are of interest from both historical and architectural points of view.

But the most uncommon and attractive for tourists, of course, are the New York skyscrapers. New York City skyscrapers are at least 600 feet high at standard height measurements, excluding antennas.

Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is a legendary skyscraper, a building with which other skyscrapers will inevitably be compared. Its silhouette, with a wide 197 by 425 feet base, a free-standing tower, and a romantic winged spire, is recognizable in thousands of souvenirs from erasers to key rings.

The building is a primary example of the skyscraper as the “crown of the city”, the main dominant urban structure, a tradition dating back to the Gothic cathedrals of the Middle Ages. The main design element of the lobby is a marble panel with aluminum relief depicting the Empire State Building and the sun shining behind its summit.

For 42 long years, the Empire State reigned as the tallest building in the world, reaching its record before the era of jetliners and the landing of a man on the moon, even King Kong once climbed it! The observation deck of the building was visited annually by about 3.5 million people. The view from the observation deck is exciting:

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Chrysler Building

At the beginning of the 20th century, a skyscraper race was taking place in America. Companies, corporations, and millionaires were striving to declare themselves to the whole world, and one of the ways to establish high status was the desire to build the tallest building.

One by one in New York, Manhattan towers of several tens of floors rose to the sky, and in 1930 the Chrysler Building skyscraper took the leading place – a building that for the first time raised to a height exceeding the height of the Eiffel Tower, thus becoming the tallest in the world.


The Chrysler Building has long become a national pride and a symbol of America. Its image often appears on the covers of books and magazines, is used in numerous films – Hollywood blockbusters sometimes demonstrate how a skyscraper building is destroyed as a result of global catastrophes. And Spider-Man, sitting on one of the gargoyles of the tower, grieved here the death of his uncle.

Flat Iron Building

Originally built as the headquarters of the George A. Fuller construction company, the building was called the Fuller Building for a short time. Pretty soon, thanks to its characteristic shape, it received the nickname Flatiron.

Fuller’s company has built many famous buildings in New York, such as Pennsylvania Station, Plaza Hotel, and others.

Flatiron is one of the attractive skyscrapers in New York, it’s image is captured in many photographs, in many films, and many absorbing stories and events are associated with him. Shortly after its completion in 1902, it came across that strong updrafts often occurred near the building, this phenomenon giving rise to what was later called “23-Skidoo”.

In fact, at that time, not everyone dared to walk next to the building, since many feared that it might fall on them. It can be appreciated given the incredibly thin, sharp corner of the skyscraper, facing the intersection of Broadway and Fifth Avenue.

Woolworth Building

The Woolworth Building in New York is considered the first skyscraper that most fully corresponds to today’s understanding of this term. This 57-story, the nearly 800-foot building was completed in 1913. For more than 90 years, it has been among the top 50 tallest buildings in the United States and the 20 tallest buildings in New York.

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Woolworth Building was praised for its elegant massive portion of the building and the slender proportions of its tower. The skyscraper has become a model for a responsible approach to high-rise architecture for its slender tower, which does not overshadow the streets next to it.

St. Paul’s Chapel

The oldest church in Manhattan, St. Paul’s Chapel was a parish part of the big Holy Trinity Church, located just six blocks south. The area around the chapel was called “holy land” for two reasons, and only one of them is related to religion.

The land was holy because it belonged to the church, but at the same time it was there that the prostitutes of Manhattan traded their services. The main entrance to the church was located on the side of Broadway.

The chapel is the finest surviving example of Georgian church architecture in the city. George Washington used to pray in this chapel, and his pew is still kept there.

World Trade Center


47 years ago, the World Trade Center was opened in New York – a complex of seven buildings, the most famous of which was the Twin Towers destroyed in the 9/11 terrorist attack.

The World Trade Center was built to kick-start Manhattan’s development. Despite protests and construction postponements, seven buildings of the complex were inaugurated on April 4, 1973. The Twin Towers became a symbol of New York and remain so even many years after the collapse: the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, became the most tragic event in modern American history, which largely determined the further social and political development of the United States.

One World Trade Center

Completed in 2014, this tower became the tallest not only in New York and the United States but in the entire Western Hemisphere. A 94-story skyscraper replaced the infamous Twin Towers. It is the main building of the World Trade Center complex and is located in lower Manhattan.

Architect David Childs, whose firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill also designed the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa.

Seagram Building

Samuel Bronfman – the head of the world’s largest wine production “Joseph E. Seagram & Sons” – in honor of the centenary of the company decided to build a headquarters in New York. After several years of scrupulous choice of an architect and 4 years of construction, the most copied building in the world, the Seagram Building, appeared in Manhattan.

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The building is located at 375 Park Avenue of Manhattan Island. All the houses on Park Avenue are ruled. Only the Seagram Building stands out. It is “deepened” into the street, and in front of the building, there is a square with fountains and benches.

This arrangement was made to show the wealth of the company: the land in the center of the island cost a lot of money, so the buildings occupied the entire purchased area, and leaving even a few meters of free space was incredible.

Bank of America Tower

This 55-story office building is the headquarters of Bank of America. The building used technologies such as floor-to-ceiling glazing to retain heat and maximize natural light, as well as an automatic window dimming system. The tower also has a water supply system that allows rainwater to be collected for reuse. In-office premises, not only incoming air is cleaned, but also the air leaving them outside. Also, Bank of America assures that the building is made mostly of recycled or recyclable materials.

Thus, the Bank Of America skyscraper can be considered not only one of the tallest, but also the most environmentally friendly in the world.

AT&T Long Lines Building

AT&T Long Lines Building is one of the darkest and most mysterious buildings in New York. The building was built in the brutalist style without a single window and with blank walls around the entire perimeter.


According to official information, the telecommunications company AT&T operates inside. The materials, which were declassified by Edward Snowden, mention that after the 9/11 attacks the building is used as a center of the US National Security Agency. One of the main functions of the institution is to intercept international telephone calls, satellite communications, and monitor Internet traffic.

The New York Times reported that the AT&T Long Lines Building blends in perfectly with other buildings, and the blank walls of the building demonstrate “the high aesthetic qualities of brutalism.”

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