New York City’s signature skyline has been a sight to behold since its first skyscraper went up in the late 19th century. Today, thousands of high-rise behemoths make up the cityscape, with scores of those reaching to neck-craning heights of 600 feet or higher. Yet even those towering proportions are considered small these days, with each building on this list breaking the 1,000-foot-high mark, and one—the high-profile One World Trade Center—reaches a staggering 1,776 feet, making it not only the tallest building in New York City, but also in the entire western hemisphere.
You’ll see some familiar icons on this list—the classic Art Deco Empire State Building and Chrysler Building are still standing tall—but expect some new contenders, too, with a new-millennium building boom that shows no signs of losing steam, with flashy sky-scraping newcomers going up across the city at breakneck speed, particularly within the emerging World Trade Center, Hudson Yards, and "Billionaires' Row" (along West 57th Street) developments.
In fact, the mega-towers are going up so quickly—with upcoming buildings like the 1,550-foot-high Central Park Tower and 1,438-foot-high Steinway Building (two "supertall" residential skyscrapers under construction on West 57th Street)—this list will need some updating as soon as mid-to-late 2019. For now, here are the 10 soaring skyscrapers that are currently dominating the New York City skyline with their superlative stature.
One World Trade Center
Height: 1,776 feet
Year completed: 2014
Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (David M. Childs
Address/neighborhood: 285 Fulton St., Financial District
The 104-story, $3.9 billion One World Trade Center—a.k.a. the “Freedom Tower”—stands at a symbolic 1,776 feet high (the year the U.S. Declaration of Independence was signed) as the tallest building in New York City and in the entire western hemisphere. A defining landmark of the Lower Manhattan skyline, it’s the main and tallest structure within the work-in-progress World Trade Center complex. In memoriam of its predecessors, the fallen Twin Towers, One World Trade Center’s roof height stands 1,368 feet high and the footprint measures 200 by 200 feet, same as the original WTC North Tower. The additional altitude is owed to the tower’s crowning 408-foot spire, which contains communications equipment and projects a light beam beacon into the night sky.
Functioning as an office building (with tenants like Condé Nast), the general public is welcomed to visit the 2015-debuted One World Observatory observation deck—the highest observation deck in New York City. A primo perch set at 1,250 feet, the enclosed three-story attraction spreads over levels 100, 101, and 102 with technologically tricked-out interactive exhibits, dining options, and viewing platforms that offer sweeping panoramas across New York City and out onto New York Harbor.
432 Park Avenue
Height: 1,396 feet
Year completed: 2015
Architect: Rafael Viñoly
Address/neighborhood: 432 Park Ave., Midtown
The second tallest building in New York City, 432 Park Avenue (dubbed the “Matchstick Building” by locals for its match-like appearance) is the tallest residential tower in the western hemisphere at 1,396 feet high. The slender, supertall tower is a lofty residential haven with 104 luxe condominiums, ultra-pricey units known for their oversize windows and multi-million-dollar views out over Manhattan and onto neighboring Central Park. Building amenities include a private restaurant, spa and fitness center, indoor swimming pool, and more, but you’ll need to pony up or make a rich friend quick in order to access any of it, which is all exclusively available to tenants and their guests. (At press time, the available units for sale carried price tags ranging from nearly $17 to $82 million.)
30 Hudson Yards
Height: 1,296 feet
Year completed: Scheduled for 2019; projected to top out in summer 2018
Architect: Kohn Pedersen Fox
Address/neighborhood: 30 Hudson Yards, Hudson Yards
Part of the much anticipated Hudson Yards development project on Manhattan’s West Side (at 33rd Street and 10th Avenue), 30 Hudson Yards, or the North Tower, is nearing completion in 2019. The 90-story office tower (anticipating tenants like Time Warner and Wells Fargo Securities) will be the highest building at Hudson Yards and the second tallest office building in New York City, touting features like outdoor terraces, a triple-height lobby, and LEED Gold-certified status.
Of interest to visitors is the over-the-top observation deck. Currently under construction, it will be the highest outdoor observation deck in the western hemisphere at more than 1,000 feet tall and is slated to have a 10,000-square-foot restaurant, bar, and event space. Perched on the 100th floor and jutting out 65 feet over the building’s side, the wow-factor observatory is scheduled to open in late 2019.
Empire State Building
Height: 1,250 feet
Year completed: 1931
Architect: Shreve, Lamb & Harmon (William F. Lamb)
Address/neighborhood: 350 Fifth Ave., Midtown
An oldie but a goodie, the iconic and ever-romantic Empire State Building is standing its ground among the big boys nearly 90 years after it was erected back in 1931. The 102-story Art Deco landmark—the first skyscraper ever to have more than 100 floors—is truly world-famous, a cinematic celebrity (featured in films like King Kong, Sleepless in Seattle, and An Affair to Remember), a beacon in the night sky (known for its spire's ever-changing lighting configurations that sync up with holidays and special events), and a cultural icon that's emblematic of New York City and America.
Not only an office building, ESB is one of the city's top tourist attractions, offering visitors access to two observation decks for classic NYC views, including the main deck on the 86th floor and the top deck on the 102nd floor. The 86th-floor observatory, currently the highest open-air observatory in NYC, offers 360-degree views out over the city skyline (with high-powered binoculars on hand to help you zoom in). Or zip up 16 floors higher still to the top deck, for a higher—albeit enclosed and smaller—viewing platform atop the building’s signature spire.
Bank of America Tower
Height: 1,200 feet
Year completed: 2009
Architect: COOKFOX Architects
Address/neighborhood: One Bryant Park, Midtown
Towering over Midtown’s Bryant Park, the decade-old Bank of America Tower is lauded for its efficiency and green sensibility. Spanning 55 stories, the modern office tower (with its namesake Bank of America serving as its primary tenant) is considered to be a model of green architecture. Claiming a rare Platinum LEED rating—the first skyscraper ever to do so—features include its own on-site cogeneration plant, a rainwater reuse system, and recycled construction materials (not to mention its green roofing concept and honeybee hives!).
While there's no observatory, visitors can access the building’s street-level Urban Garden Room, a lush and light-filled space that's meant to serve as an indoor extension of Bryant Park.
3 World Trade Center
Height: 1,079 feet
Year completed: 2018
Architect: Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (Richard Rogers)
Address/neighborhood: 175 Greenwich St., Financial District
Opened in June 2018, the 80-story 3 World Trade Center marks the latest addition to the ongoing redevelopment at the World Trade Center and is the second structure from the complex to make this list. The modern glass, LEED Gold-certified office tower is noted for design elements like an external structural steel frame, three-story-high lobby, trio of landscaped terraces (including a small one on the 76th floor), and open-workspace offices boasting floor-to-ceiling windows.
Visitors can eventually tap into five floors of retail space within the building (accessible from both the southern plaza of the Oculus transportation hub and the Westfield mall, which sits directly below 3 WTC), as well as planned eateries, including a Hawksmoor steakhouse (though no opening date has been set yet).
Height: 1,050 feet
Year completed: Topped out in August 2018
Architect: Jean Nouvel
Address/neighborhood: 53 West 53rd St., Midtown
Another new kid on the Midtown block, the Jean Nouvel-designed MoMA Tower, or 53W53, topped out in June 2018. The 82-story supertall glass tower—soaring above the newly expanded Museum of Modern Art—will feature 145 luxe condominiums catering to the ultra-rich ($70 million duplex, anyone?), with interior designs by Thierry Despont and building amenities that include a private theater, lounge with Central Park views, lap pool, golf simulator, wine vault, and more. For the general public, there will be access to new exhibition space as part of an upcoming MoMA expansion and a restaurant debuting in 2019, too.
Year completed: 1930
Architect: William Van Alen
Address/neighborhood: 405 Lexington Ave., Midtown
Emblematic of the New York skyline, this beloved Art Deco skyscraper in Midtown is often cited as a favorite among New Yorkers with its instantly recognizable and sleek geometric design, featuring decorative metal cladding, gargoyle-like ornamentation, and a sunburst-styled, terraced crown. The 77-story Chrysler Building was completed in 1930, commissioned by automobile mogul Walter P. Chrysler, serving as the Chrysler company’s headquarters into the mid-1950s. It held the short-lived title as the tallest building in the world before the honor was overtaken by the Empire State Building in 1931.
The building functions as an office tower today; there hasn’t been a public observation deck since the one that debuted with the building on the 71st floor closed in 1945 (it's been converted to office space since). However, during business hours, you can sneak a peek inside the ornate lobby, with its impressive Art Deco finishings and a ceiling mural by Edward Trumbull.
The New York Times Building
Height: 1,046 feet
Year completed: 2007
Architect: Renzo Piano Building Workshop & FXFOWLE Architects
Address/neighborhood: 620 Eighth Ave., Midtown
Tied with the Chrysler Building for the title of eighth tallest building in NYC, this 52-story glass-and-steel Midtown office tower—and headquarters for its eponymous The New York Times—was designed by “starchitect” Renzo Piano. It's been well received for its sustainability markers and for incorporating plenty of glass and natural lighting, in the spirit of transparency associated with the news media.
While the building is not generally accessible to the public, there are some ground-level retailers and restaurants that are, including a Wolfgang’s Steakhouse and Dean & DeLuca café. Look, too, for open-to-the-public spaces like the lobby area, featuring the art installation "Moveable Type" and a glass-enclosed open-air garden, as well as TheTimesCenter cultural center and performance space.
35 Hudson Yards
Height: 1,009 feet
Year completed: Slated for 2019; topped out in June 2018
Architect: SOM (David M. Childs)
Address/neighborhood: 35 Hudson Yards, Hudson Yards
The second Hudson Yards project building to top out in summer 2018, the mixed-use, 72-story 35 Hudson Yards is nearing its completion date as the development’s second-tallest building. Notable features include a limestone- and glass-clad exterior, LEED Gold-certified status, and a series of setback terraces trimmed with outdoor garden space. (The architect, David M. Childs, is also responsible for designing One World Trade Center.) Inside, there will be 137 apartments, along with an additional allotment of office space. Of interest to visitors when it debuts in 2019 will be the Equinox-branded hotel and fitness club, a Hospital for Special Surgery clinic, and some planned street-level shops and eateries, too.