How is New York’s famous skyline evolving?

Published: April 2018

There is no skyline in the world as famous as that of New York. Whether you think of The Empire State Building, The Chrysler Building, The Twin Towers or the current highest building, One World Trade Centre; mention the word skyscraper and The Big Apple is the first thing that springs to mind.

New York is home to over 6486 completed high rise buildings.

Despite its iconic status, New York’s famous skyline is constantly evolving. Below we look at how it has evolved over the decades and what we can expect in the future.


Emergence of the skyscraper

Chicago is widely credited with having the first skyscraper and debate still rages over which building was New York’s first, however the iconic Flatiron Building is an early example that still stands today.

Built in 1902, it stands at 87 feet and 20 stories high. The population at the time stood at just under 3.5m. But grew by an amazing 1m per decade for the next 40 years. Increasing demand for accommodation and jobs and therefore the demand for more skyscrapers.

The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower followed in 1909 and was the tallest building in the world until 1913 yet it doesn’t even get into the top fifty tallest buildings in New York now.

In 1930 The Bank of Manhattan Trust Building came along and was the world’s tallest building for only two months. The iconic skyscrapers were coming.


Iconic skyscrapers

The Chrysler Building was built in 1930 and was the first building in the world to top 1,000 ft. Closely followed by The Empire State Building in 1931 which was the first building to reach 100 floors.

New york skyline

To this day, no buildings depict the New York Skyline better than these two Art Deco classics.


World Trade Centre

Whilst the Empire State Building depicts the classic New York Skyline, no other building shows how dramatically the skyline can change than the one that took its title as World’s tallest building, the World Trade Centre.

The landmark Twin Towers opened in 1973 and with Tower One standing at 1,368 feet, they dwarfed the Empire State. Whilst arguably not as striking a building, the Twin Towers reasserted New York’s place as one of the top cities in the world.

On September 11th, 2001, the Twin Towers were destroyed in a terrorist attack. The skyline and city was changed forever.

The tallest building in New York is One World Trade Center, which rises 1,776 feet (541 m).


The Future of New York’s Skyline

It is fitting that New York’s current tallest building; One World Trade Centre is the replacement for the Twin Towers and stands at the exact same height and covers the same sized footprint.

The demand for skyscrapers is relentless and with the population currently standing at around 8.5m, the demand for residential accommodation as well as business centres is increasing.

Developments in construction techniques and zoning issues have led to a current trend for super slim skyscrapers. With an estimated four skyscrapers a year being built in The Big Apple, the appetite for high rise building shows no sign of abating.

As of April 2016, there were 494 high-rise buildings under construction or proposed for construction in New York City.

The super-rich have moved in and with some apartments costing upwards of $100m you can see why some of the top architects in the world such as Frank Gehry and Christian de Portzamparc are designing the latest wave of iconic superstructures.

New York’s famous skyline is constantly evolving but will forever remain iconic. How it evolves over the next hundred years is anybody’s guess, the sky’s the limit.

New York Skyline

New York’s Tallest Buildings

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