New York City is full of beauty in all forms, but the architecture of its incredible buildings is definitely one of its most defining qualities.
From modern skyscrapers to centuries-old landmarks that look straight out of old-world Europe, NYC’s structures are a huge part of its character—you just have to remember to look up to see them!
Here are our “most beautiful” 10 buildings in NYC, in no particular order:
1. The Flatiron Building
When the Flatiron Building was first constructed in 1902, the architect was widely criticized because people though it would fall down. While, it’s continued to stand at 22 stories and 307 feet for over 100 years and has become an NYC icon! Contrary to popular belief, it was never actually the tallest building in NYC, but definitely was known for its very interesting shape, which was due to the triangular shape of the property where Fifth Avenue and Broadway intersected. [Facts from History.com]
Where: 175 5th Ave
2. The Ansonia Building, Upper West Side
This beautiful apartment building on the Upper West Side looks straight out of Paris, right in the middle of New York City! It’s located at 2109 Broadway (besides the beauty, it’s practically next-door to Levain!) and dates back to 1899-1904. It was originally designed as “the city’s largest and grandest apartment hotel” with 2,500 rooms, according to Street Easy; now it holds 425 apartments of varying sizes.
Where: 2109 Broadway
3. The Met Life Clock Tower, Flatiron District
The Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.’s Clock Tower is beautiful during the day, but especially gorgeous at nighttime when it’s all light up. Right near the Flatiron Building, it was constructed in 1909—and unlike the famous wedge-shaped building, it was once the world’s tallest building (and “timepiece”!). The Woolworth Building later beat it out for that title (see #10), but it still has one of the largest four-dial clocks in the world. Each of the clock faces is a whopping 26.5 feet in diameter. It was modeled after the Campanile di San Marco in Venice, Italy. [Facts from Flatiron 23rd Street Partnership]
Where: 5 Madison Ave.
4. Williamsburgh Savings Bank, Brooklyn
The Williamsburgh Savings Bank in Brooklyn was built between 1870 and 1875, and its Beaux-Arts style actually inspired the design of tons of other buildings across the country. It was designed by architect George B. Post, who later designed the New York Stock Exchange and Cornelius Vanderbilt II Mansion. Now it serves as a wedding venue called the Weylin.
Where: 175 Broadway, Brooklyn
5. Bryant Park Hotel/The American Radiator Building, Midtown South
Though it now houses the Bryant Park Hotel, this was originally the American Radiator Building (later renamed the American Standard Building), built in 1924. The 26-story building was made from black brick to symbolize coal, along with some sections of gold brick (to symbolize fire). It drew from both the Gothic and modern styles, and was landmarked in 1974. [Facts from Bryant Park Hotel]
Where: 40 W 40th St.
6. St. John the Divine, Morningside Heights
The Cathedral of St. John the Divine has quite a presence on Amsterdam. No matter how you measure it (by length or internal volume), it is one of the five largest church buildings in the world, and features Romanesque, Byzantine and Gothic elements of design. It is the “mother church” of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, and is over 125 years old, as construction began in 1892. It’s also well-known for its giant organ, which is made of 8,035 pipes. [Info. from St. John the Divine]
Where: 1047 Amsterdam Ave. between West 110th St. and 113th St.
7. St. Nicholas Russian Cathedral, Upper East Side
This colorful Russian Orthodox church that sits on the Upper East Side was completed in 1904. It was designed by John Bergesen in the typical Russian church design style: “stone with a dark red brick facade trimmed with limestone and glazed tile in green, blue, and yellow, with seven onion-shaped domes.” The “ribs” of the domes are made of gilt bronze. [Info from St. Nicholas Russian Cathedral]
Where: 15 E 97th St.
8. Fotografiska or the The Church Missions Building, Flatiron District
The Church Missions Building, which was built in 1894 and is a registered landmark, is now home to the New York center location of the Swedish photography museum, Fotografiska. It’s a “steel-frame Romanesque structure inspired by the medieval guildhalls of Amsterdam and Haarlem,” according to the Flatiron 23rd Street Partnership. It clocks in at 45,000 square feet, spread out over six floors.
Where: 281 Park Ave South
9. Jefferson Market Library, Greenwich Village
Before it was a library, this stunning building was a courthouse! It was designed by architects Frederick Clark Withers and Calvert Vaux (who also helped design Central Park), and was constructed between 1875 and 1877. There was a market and jail right next door (prisoners were even held in the basement between sentencing and being put in jail), and there are some pretty interesting stories on the New York Public Library’s website.
Where: 425 6th Ave.
10. The Woolworth Building, Tribeca
Now this building was the tallest in the world when it was finished in 1913, and its base took up a full city block at the time. It was commissioned by retailer Frank W. Woolworth, who wanted it to beat the Met Life Clocktower building for that coveted “world’s tallest” title (peek at #2). Though it was later beaten by the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building, it’s still one of the 50 tallest buildings in the U.S. and became a National Historic Landmark in 1966. [Facts from History.com]
Where: 233 Broadway
featured image source: Instagram / @joethommas