We’re gonna go ahead and say it: The NYC skyline is the eighth wonder of the world—which is why we took it upon ourselves to highlight the 5 most beautiful NYC buildings. Call us crazy, but whether you’ve lived in Gotham your whole life or you’re just visiting, there’s nothing quite like the rush of seeing that iconic view—the Empire State Building! The Chrysler!—particularly when you least expect it.
While no longer the tallest building in America–or New York for that matter–the 1,454 foot tall Art Deco skyscraper looms as large as ever in the city’s iconic skyline. Built in 1931 over the course of just 11 months, the Empire State Building was a feat of American engineering, that remains one of the most visited attractions in New York for its spectacular 360-degree views.
From 1938 to 1951, this venue in the basement of midtown’s Paramount Hotel was one of the most prominent nightclubs in New York, with theatrical producer Billy Rose presiding over revues stuffed with showgirls. In 2014 it was revived as a space for the site-specific immersive production Queen of the Night.
Since its early beginnings, Rockefeller Center has stood as a modern monolith to the American dream. Built by one of the richest businessmen of his era, John D. Rockefeller, during the height of the Great Depression, the enormous complex–one of the largest private building projects in modern times–employed over 40,000 workers over nine years during its construction.
On a daily basis over 350,000 visitors make their way to the historic landmark. The busiest time to visit, of course, is December when the enormous–usually over 70 feet tall–Christmas Tree stands proud above the plaza ice rink.
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This 21-story Beaux Arts edifice once dominated midtown. Although it’s now dwarfed by other structures, when it debuted in 1902, the triangle-shaped monolith represented the threat and the thrill of modernity: Naysayers claimed it would never withstand the high winds plaguing 23rd Street, while revered photographer Alfred Stieglitz— wrote that it was “a picture of a new America still in the making.
We won’t argue if you want to call this glimmering pinnacle of Art Deco architecture NYC’s most eye-popping skyscraper. Triangle-shaped windows in its crown are lined with lights, creating a beautiful effect come nighttime. During the famed three-way race to construct Manhattan’s tallest building, the Chrysler added a needle-sharp stainless-steel spire to best 40 Wall Street—but was outdone shortly after its completion in 1930 by the Empire State Building.
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