New York Skyscrapers

I mentioned last week that I would be writing about skyscrapers. Frankly, it’s impossible to write about New York without mentioning them!

New York is famous for its grid layout but the city’s most famous road runs contrary to the rule. Broadway snakes quite haphazardly across the grid, all the way from the top to the bottom of the island of Manhattan. My favourite New York building prior to my recent trip was the Flatiron Building on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Broadway. Due to Broadway running diagonally at that point, the Flatiron Building sits on a triangular plot; hence its unique shape. Spiderman fans may have spotted it in the two recent films as the Daily Bugle’s headquarters. It remains my favourite New York building today.

Between 1899 and 1974, various New York towers held the record of world’s tallest. The Park Row Building, the Singer Building, the Met Life Insurance Tower, the Woolworth Building, 40 Wall Street, the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building and the World Trade Centre North Tower all held the title at one time or other. There is much debate as to what constitutes world’s tallest though. Many believe that height should not include roof masts. I managed to see all of the above except the Park Row Building and the demolished Singer Building though obviously it was only possible to see the Twin Towers’ wreckage.

The most impressive moment of the trip was the alternative gallery at 7 World Trade Centre which I actually saw on 9/11. The building sits just outside the site of the Twin Towers and has been recently rebuilt following destruction on 9/11 five years ago. The free gallery features photographs of many touching tributes to the public servants of New York who perished in the attacks such as tattoos dedicated to firemen and graffiti commemorating police officers.

The Art Deco style is prominent in New York and can be seen at its best on the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings. Disappointing, though admittedly it was partly my fault, I was not overly impressed with the view from the top of the Empire State. I had planned to get up there just before dusk so that I could see the city from above by day and night. It took so long to queue and get through security that I only got the night view – still pretty amazing though!