General Article

An Insider’s Look At Some Of New York’s Architectural Beauties

If you are a native New Yorker or just visiting the city, then there are some iconic buildings that you will want to see. While each neighborhood tends to have its own unique style of architecture, there are some buildings that stand out for their unique design.


“NYC is full of architectural gems,” said Jennifer Li of TopView, a hop-on, hop-off sightseeing bus company. “Just walking down a street can take your breath away–there’s always some magnificent beauty waiting for you to explore.”


Here are five buildings that you need to see in New York City on a tour of the city’s architecture.


Met Life Tower


Originally constructed in 1909, the Metropolitan Life Building was designed by Napoleon LeBrun & Sons. This building was the tallest building in the world for two years and held the distinction of having the tallest clock face in the world for many more. Each minute hand on the clock weighs one-half ton. When the building opened, it was also the largest commercial office space in the world. This building is located at Five Madison Avenue/200 Park Ave.


Trinity Church Wall Street


The Gothic Revival Trinity Church standing at the intersection of Broadway and Wall Street was consecrated in 1846. Its ornate design sparked controversy when it was built because many leaders thought the country should be more frugal.


The land that the church was built on was given in a land deed by King William III in exchange for 63 bushels of grain each year. The church, however, did not live up to their end of the bargain.


Therefore, Queen Elizabeth was given 276 peppercorns when she visited the church in 1976. She accepted one peppercorn for each year the church was late with its payment in lieu of 17,388 bushels of grain. This church is located at 75 Broadway.




This is a breakthrough design, the brainchild of world-renowned Danish architect, Bjarke Ingles.


His firm, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, designed the 830,000 square-foot residential building redefines green living, centering around the four core elements of nature:  water, air, energy, and earth.


The building, which promotes sustainability and wellness,  has a 22 000 square-foot garden in its middle. The building’s unique design that reaches 450 feet into the air on its northwest corner was designed to protect Helena Tower’s views of the Hudson River.


The courtyard is designed to replicate the exact dimensions of Central Park but on a much smaller scale. This building is located at 625 West 57th Street.


Grand Central Terminal


Grand Central Terminal was heralded as paying tribute to Cornelius Vanderbilt’s fast-growing railroad empire. Despite being born into a poor family and dropping out of school at age 11 to help his family survive, Vanderbilt became a self-made millionaire.


McKim Mead & White and Daniel Burnham were responsible for designing this building. Vanderbilt insisted that his cousin Whitney Warren be added to the team. It was Warren’s idea to design the building to resemble the baths of Rome. The unique domed ceiling in this building is designed as it someone from the outside is looking at the galaxies. Therefore, the galaxies are each designed to be the opposite of what an observer would see in the night sky. Grand Central Terminal is located at 89 East 42nd Street.


IAC Building


One of the most unique buildings in New York City is the IAC Building designed by Frank Gehry. When this building’s west side is viewed it looks like it has sail-like curves while the north side appears to have knife-like pleats. As you continue on around the building, it appears to be very block-like on its two remaining sides allowing it to fit into the rest of the neighborhood. This building is located at 535 West 18th Street.


This is just a “drop in the bucket” of some of the gorgeous structures you’ll see in this city. Make your plans to visit these buildings on your next trip to the city.