New York City is one of the very few parts of America that was meant to be built upward, rather than outward. During the city’s architectural heyday, engineers were unable to keep the urban sprawl under control. To accommodate the influx of new citizens and businesses, landlords and building owners began to invest their money in skyscrapers. This decision would later define the New York City skyline.
Since the 1860s, New York’s skyline has only gotten taller and taller. Building architects have taken to creating a competition on who could make the tallest skyscrapers in the city. As a result, we have some seriously impressive buildings here. Even from a distance, it’s a sight to behold.
The Tallest Buildings in NYC
The city’s skyline is continually evolving, even today. What was once the tallest isn’t anymore, and what’s considered to be the tallest now won’t be in the future. If you’re curious about the tallest of the tall, let’s take a look at which NYC buildings set the bar for “sky-high” in each significant category…
What Is The Tallest Building In NYC?
One World Trade Center is the tallest building in NYC at 1776 feet in height. Besides hosting plenty of office space, One World Trade Center is also home to a museum dedicated to 9/11 and Ground Zero. To reinforce the patriotic message in the building’s creation, engineers designed the height to match the year America was founded: 1776.
Before 9/11, the Twin Towers were the most iconic buildings in New York City and acted as a landmark for almost every aspiring Wall Streeter. When it fell, a decision was made to create a taller, more modern skyscraper that would also act as a memorial to those who were lost in the terror attack.
Tallest Residential Building in NYC: 111 W. 57th Street
111 West 57th Street is the tallest residential building in NYC. This newly constructed property has quickly become one of the most noticeable on Billionaire’s Row. Designed by the mavericks at SHoP Architects, this ultra-modern building contains some of the priciest real estate in America.
The building boasts a whopping 84 stories filled to the brim with ultra-luxurious surroundings and also incorporated the iconic Steinway Hall into its design. You can tell which building this one is by just looking at its position in Central Park: right in the center of the border.
111 W. 57th Street Height: 1428 ft
The Tallest Office Building in NYC
If you’re talking about tall office buildings, it’s clear that New York City has plenty, and One Vanderbilt is the current tallest. They are everywhere. (I mean, look at Midtown!) However, there are office buildings and office buildings. One Vanderbilt is the newest building to be composed exclusively of offices in New York City...and it’s the tallest one yet.
One Vanderbilt is found right next to Grand Central Terminal and even has a special hub connecting the building to the terminal itself. Unlike most of the “skinny” towers being made today, One Vanderbilt is pointedly massive. The tower takes up an entire block!
One Vanderbilt Height: 1401 ft
The Tallest Condo Building in NYC
432 Park Avenue is one of the newest and most impressive super-tall towers in NYC. This “Art” condo building that has been designed to make a statement and push the boundaries of what people expect from architecture is also one of the skinniest skyscrapers in New York City.
Despite the super-thin design, the apartments inside are plush and spacious. Around 90 percent of all the apartments have been sold, with around half belonging to foreign nationals.
432 Park Avenue Height: 1396 ft
The Tallest Historic Building in NYC
The Empire State Building: Up until the Twin Towers (and later, the One World Trade Center Tower), the Empire State Building was the tallest building in New York City. Of course, that’s not the only claim to fame it had. The Empire State Building is one of the most famous examples of Art Deco design in the world.
The lights from the Empire State Building’s towers are now an iconic part of the New York City skyline. Depending on the reason and the season, lights get different hues to show the overall mood of the Big Apple. Most recently, the famously flashed white and red in honor of first responders.
The Empire State Building Height: 1250 ft
Tallest Mixed-Use Building in NYC
30 Hudson Yards: Often called a “city within a city,” 30 Hudson Yards has a little bit of everything interspersed inside of it. You can find luxury residential buildings, office buildings, stores, and even some flex-use spaces too. With its sprawling square footage and its 72 floors of rooms, one could easily spend a day wandering the halls and get lost in there.
This massive mega-skyscraper offers up gorgeous views of the Hudson River and is situated right by the docks. Needless to say, people who enjoy boating definitely have their fair share of options here.
30 Hudson Yards Height: 1270 ft
The Tallest Company Tower in NYC
The Bank of America Tower: Most people don’t fully realize this, but there are some skyscrapers in New York City that almost exclusively serve as homes to major corporations. The Bank of America Tower is one such tower and currently has 75 percent of its real estate entirely devoted to the corporation it’s named after.
Though Bank of America doesn’t have a sterling reputation, its building does—at least in terms of being a green building. As of right now, the stately banking building is the tallest of its kind within city limits.
The Bank of America Tower Height: 1200 ft
The Tallest Building in Brooklyn
Brooklyn Point: Though it’s not in the middle of Midtown, Brooklyn Point remains a building to admire when you’re talking about the outer boroughs. Initially cleared as a multi-zoning condominium building designed to help with the high price of rent while adding luxury to the BK, Brooklyn Point was only completed in 2019.
The building itself is petite compared to Manhattan skyscraper standards, but don’t let that fool you. It’s still tall enough to be a landmark in almost any other city on the East Coast.
Brooklyn Point Height: 790 ft
The Tallest News Building in NYC
The New York Times Building: There are several buildings in New York City that are closely tied to the country’s literary scene: The New Yorker, the Algonquin Hotel, and of course, the New York Times Tower. Of all these, it’s pretty clear which one is considered to be the biggest cultural icon of them all.
The Times Building doesn’t just house the New York Times, either. Other news tenants include International New York Times as well as several past magazines. Oddly enough, this building is rather famous for having climbers test their mettle on it.
The New York Times Building Height: 1046 ft
The Tallest Magazine Building
The Conde Nast Building: Thomas Nast made a huge splash when he made some political cartoons about Boss Tweed, but make no doubt about it, he became a NYC icon himself. The Conde Nast building now is owners by the magazine megacorporation, and still houses major names like Vogue.
Every other day, a veritable who’s who of the fashion world comes in and out of here. Needless to say, it’s every magazine fan’s wish to work here eventually.
The Conde Nast Building Height: 1118 ft
Bonus: The Tallest Buildings in NYC Under Construction
If you thought the race for skyscraper goodness was over, we got some news for you. It’s not, and not by a long shot. New York’s always growing taller, and these upcoming buildings are poised to over. So if you’re wondering what the future holds in terms of NYC’s skyline, here are some of the tallest buildings in NYC that are currently planned.
The Tallest Future Residential Building
Central Park Tower: Leave it to the luxury-loving crowd near Central Park to find a way to stand tall while they live it up, right? Only recently finished in 2019, the Central Park Tower is one of the newest skyscrapers to call the Big Apple home.
The residential tower is part of Billionaire’s Row and has prices that very clearly reflect that fact. A single 569-square foot studio apartment here can cost $1.5 million or more. When completed, it will be the tallest residential skyscraper in the Western hemisphere.
Central Park Tower Planned Height: 1550 ft
The Tallest Future Office Building
350 Park Avenue: Office buildings are also starting to see a height boost, thanks to the major real estate groups Rubin Management and Vornado Realty Trust. Though the word isn’t fully confirmed, rumors suggest that the Foster and Partners architecture team will be spearheading the work.
This office building will be equipped with the latest in upscale designs and amenities. To make way for the new tower, Vornado and Rubin will be tearing down two current skyscrapers and using the then-vacant land.
350 Park Avenue Planned Height: 1450 ft