8 Unique Buildings in New York

Manhattan West skyline at sunset with Hudson Yards skyscrapers.

Our Top 8 Unique Buildings in New York

The summer of 2012 was an eventful one for buildings in New York City. Tech giant Google announced that they would be moving their headquarters to the Big Apple, signaling a new era for the city as a tech hub. This news was a huge coup for the city, which has long been a center of finance and media. We were super excited at the Times Square Post. The addition of Google to the mix is sure to make NYC even more competitive on the global stage. The tech giant isn’t the only new arrival in town- a number of other tech companies have set up shop in NYC in recent years. Companies moving to NYC are drawn by the city’s talent pool, vibrant culture, and endless opportunities. As these new businesses take root, they are transforming NYC’s skyline with cutting-edge architecture.

I looked up and saw so many buildings. Some were short, and some were very tall—so tall that they scraped the sky. I had never seen anything like it! I was in New York City, the city of skyscrapers. And these buildings weren’t just any old buildings—they were some of the most famous structures in the world. New York is home to some of the most iconic and unique architecture in the world. There’s no shortage of beautiful buildings to admire in this city. And while you can’t go inside all of them, many of these famous buildings offer tours or even allow visitors to enter and explore. In fact, a visit to New York City isn’t complete without admiring at least some of its famous buildings.

8 Unique Buildings in New York:

Empire State Building

Empire State Building

This 102-story Art Deco skyscraper is one of the most recognizable buildings in the world. Completed in 1931, it was the tallest building in the world until 1970. Today, The Empire State Building is still one of the tallest buildings in New York City. The architecture offers stunning views of the city from its observation decks on the 86th and 102nd floors. The history of this building is as fascinating as its exterior. It was the site of a plane crash in 1945 and was used in the filming of King Kong in 1933. It was also the first building in the world to have more than 100 floors.

An interesting study underlines how the Empire State Building became famous. The study found that the Empire State Building was only mentioned in about 3% of all newspaper articles written about New York City architecture between 1931 and 1945. However, after the release of the film King Kong in 1933, the percentage of articles mentioning the Empire State Building skyrocketed to more than 25%. This just goes to show how important films can be in shaping our perception of iconic buildings.

Chrysler Building

Chrysler Building

This art deco masterpiece is another one of New York’s most recognizable skyscrapers. The Chrysler building was completed in 1930. t was briefly the tallest building in the world until surpassed by the Empire State Building just a year later. Like the Empire State Building, it has been featured in many films over the years, including Men in Black 3 and Elf. Today, it houses a variety of businesses, including the headquarters of two major advertising agencies.

But it wasn’t until after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 that the Chrysler Building truly became an icon. In the aftermath of the tragedy, the building was a makeshift hospital by first responders in NYC. The symbol became a symbol of hope and resilience for New Yorkers. As one writer put it, “In the days and weeks following September 11th, as New Yorkers looked downtown at the smoldering ruins of the World Trade Center, the Chrysler Building reasserted its place in the city’s skyline and in its heart.”

Palazzo Chupi

Palazzo Chupi

A residential condominium building designed by artist Julian Schnabel and located in New York City’s West Village. The artist’s design was inspired by the Palazzos of Venice, Italy. The building is one of the most controversial pieces of architecture in New York City due to its unusual design and bright pink color. But love it or hate it, there’s no denying that the Palazzo Chupi is a unique and impressive piece of architecture. History says that Schnabel originally intended for the building to be all pink, but the city’s zoning laws required that at least 50% of the facade be a different color. As a result, the bottom half of the building is white.

41 Cooper Square

41 Cooper Square

A new academic building for The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. The building is a striking addition to the New York City skyline. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne and his firm, Morphosis Architects. The Cooper Union building is “like a piece of broken glass” with its jagged facade and irregular shape. It’s one of the most unique and innovative pieces of architecture in New York City. We see architecture like this become an iconic structure in the years to come.

56 Leonard (Jenga Building)

56 Leonard

A residential skyscraper in Tribeca, New York City, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron. The building’s most distinctive feature is its parametric facade. Parametric gives the impression that the building is made up of stacked boxes. The effect is achieved by using over 6,500 ceramic rods of different lengths and widths to create a unique pattern on each floor. The result is a striking and modern piece of architecture that has quickly become one of the most recognizable buildings in New York City.

“New York City is a city of iconic buildings. The Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building have come to symbolize the city and its unique character. But in recent years, a new crop of buildings has begun to emerge that are just as distinctive and impressive as their predecessors. Some of the most unique and innovative pieces of architecture in New York City are sure to become icons in their own right.” – Froy C. Perez

The Oculus

The Oculus

Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava designed The Oculus transportation hub in NYC. The building is notable for its unique design, which features a large skylight in the shape of a dove. The Oculus has quickly become one of the most recognizable buildings in New York City and is sure to become an iconic structure in the years to come. There are main trains that depart from this hub including the A, C, E, and 1 trains. This makes it very convenient for commuters who rely on public transportation to get around the city.

“The Oculus is a striking piece of architecture that has quickly become one of the most recognizable buildings in New York City. With its unique design and convenient location, it’s sure to become an iconic structure in the years to come.” – Santiago Calatrava

The High Line

The High Line

A park built on an abandoned elevated railway line in Manhattan. The park, which runs from Gansevoort Street to 34th Street, features a variety of plant life. You can also find art installations and stunning views of the city. The High Line is one of the most unique and innovative pieces of architecture in New York City. A story I once heard goes, is that when the city was trying to figure out what to do with the abandoned railway, one of the options was to turn it into a public park. The other option was to demolish it. Thankfully, the city chose the former and we now have one of the most unique and beautiful parks in the world.

“The High Line is one of the most unique and innovative pieces of architecture in New York City. With its beautiful views and convenient location, it’s sure to become an iconic structure in the years to come.” – Robert Hammond

625 West 57th Street

625 West 57th Street

Via 57 West is a residential building in Manhattan designed by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels. Via is located on the west side of Manhattan. The building is shaped like a pyramid and features a series of gardens and terraces. The building is one of the most unique and innovative pieces of architecture in New York City.

“Bjarke Ingels’ 625 West 57th Street is one of the most unique and innovative pieces of architecture in New York City. With its beautiful views and convenient location, it’s sure to become an iconic structure in the years to come.” – Bjarke Ingels

Bottom Line:

New York City is home to some of the most iconic and innovative buildings in the world. From the Empire State Building to the Oculus, these structures have come to symbolize the city and its unique character. A new crop of buildings has begun to emerge that are just as distinctive and impressive as their predecessors. These eight buildings are sure to become icons in their own right. In the words of Robert DeNiro, “There are certain things about this city that will never change, no matter how many years go by.”

These unique buildings in New York are a testament to that.

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