While the New York skyline is constantly changing, some of the recent construction and additions to historic buildings across the city have resulted in some once-hidden but spectacular views of the world.
These views range from close-up shots of architectural details that may previously only be visible to a select few, to bird's-eye views of towers and domes that, until recently, could only be seen from the street. They offer a novel way to see parts of Manhattan and spotlight design elements that have largely been hidden from view.
The structures include office buildings that have created new living spaces, such as the Woolworth Building in Lower Manhattan; historic buildings with towers added or remodeled to create luxury housing, such as Steinway Hall on West 57th Street and the Waldorf Astoria New York; and brand new apartment towers that allow for interesting new vistas of nearby landmarks.
“In the early decades of the 20th century, architects generally believed that the entire building should be designed from the sidewalk to the summit,” said Carol Willis, architectural historian and the founder and director of the Skyscraper Museum. "Elaborate ornamentation was an integral part of both architectural design and the practice of the construction industry."
In the examples we share with you below, some of these tall decorations can now be seen thanks to new housing developments that have recently hit the market.
The neoclassical showpiece Steinway Hall was completed in 1925 by famous Warren and Wetmore architects Whitney Warren and Charles Delevan Wetmore. New Yorkers have long admired the view of 57th Street on the decorative limestone facade of the pre-war Indiana building, which features sculptures with musical motifs by Italian sculptor Leo Lentelli and a frieze with medallion portraits of musical figures like Mozart.
Known as 111 West 57th Street, the development combines the 16-story Steinway Hall with an attached Supertall Condo Tower and was designed by SHoP Architects. The tower – one of the tallest and thinnest buildings in the United States – gives some residents a direct view of the intricate masonry of the adjacent 1925 building and the copper-roofed structures that crown the pre-war building just outside their windows.
"To increase awareness and recognition of the skyline for their client Steinway & Sons, Warren & Wetmore reinforced the required setbacks with decorative urns and ionic columns and culminated the structure in two rhythmic crowns with a copper roof," said architectural historian Marci Clark, who Managing Director at JDS Development Group, which oversaw the construction of 111 West 57th Street.
Sales for the 60-unit project, which includes 46 units in the Condo Tower and 14 units in Steinway Hall, started in 2018, but the building is still under construction. Only a select number of apartments are listed at a time, ranging from a two-bedroom apartment currently priced at $ 8,750,000 to a four-bedroom penthouse for $ 66 million.
The Waldorf Astoria New York
In Midtown East, two of the city's most iconic Art Deco buildings, the Waldorf Astoria New York (designed by Schultze and Weaver) and the General Electric Building (by architects Cross & Cross) are one block apart. Both buildings were completed in 1931 and have enviable exterior elements typical of the time such as geometric details and striking crowns that dramatically shape the silhouettes of the buildings.
"The dance between these two grand Art Deco buildings was something that people who took an interest in the New York City skyline noticed immediately," said Andrew Dolkart, architectural historian and professor of monument conservation at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture , Planning and preservation of monuments. "The tops of the buildings look different, but they have a similar aesthetic, so they work well together."
However, it didn't take construction of the towers of the Waldorf Astoria, a luxury condominium tower that spans the top 33 levels of the 52-story landmark building, including two new penthouses on the top floor rising into the crowning domes of this Eye-level views of the stylized Gothic crown of the General Electric Building have been fully revealed. (The hotel on the lower floors will be closed for renovations.)
In addition to a breathtaking view of this crown, most of the north-facing residences in the block-wide building also offer a sheltered view over the recently restored terracotta tile dome of St. Barts Episcopal Church next door.
By individually marking the Waldorf, General Electric Building, and St. Bartholomew's, the Landmark Preservation Commission has "preserved a unique urban composition with a spiraling upward thrust," said architect Frank Mahan, associate director at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the company overseeing the restoration of the Waldorf Astoria New York Hotel and the construction of the new residences.
Condominium sales began early last year, and units available range from a studio valued at $ 1.825 million to a four-bedroom unit for $ 18.5 million.
The armory of the 69th regiment
A new, 100-unit skyscraper called VU New York extends across Kips Bay, 36 stories tall and well above many of its surrounding structures. Its elevation offers views of the downtown skyline, the East River, and many of the hidden architectural gems in between.
Residents of some of the lower floors of VU New York have a direct view of the two-story mansard roof that crowns the historic 69th Regiment Armory Building on Lexington Avenue, which features everything from the legendary Armory Show of 1913 to the NBA Finals of the early 1950s Years everything took place. (Today the structure serves as the headquarters of the New York Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment.)
Upstairs western-facing units offer top views of the architecturally distinct structure, New York City's first armory (built after the Seventh Regiment armory), not modeled after a medieval fortress.
The armory's slate mansard roof was built in 1906 by Hunt & Hunt and was originally just one floor with round skylights. In 1926 the roof was raised by architect George M. McCabe to create more storage space for the armory. Straight and round windows with classic copper surrounds have been added. The end result is a structure inspired by the French Beaux-Arts, with architectural details that can be seen from afar but are most impactful at eye level.
"The design of the 69th Regiment Armory Building is fundamentally different from the other armory buildings in Manhattan, which are typically medieval in style," said Yehuda Mor of Minrav Development, who developed VU New York. "When residents look out the window and see the armory, it feels like they're looking out the window in Paris."
Construction work on VU New York is still ongoing, although sales began in January 2021. Condos available range from a studio for $ 829,000 to a three bedroom studio for $ 3.95 million.
The Woolworth building
At 792 feet, the Woolworth Building on 233 Broadway was the tallest in the world from 1913 to 1930. The large neo-Gothic skyscraper was designed by the architect Cass Gilbert and resembles a medieval European cathedral and is often referred to as New York's "Cathedral of Commerce".
All but the lower four floors of the Woolworth Building feature ornate decorative masonry and a terracotta facade that from a distance is seen as limestone. On closer inspection, however, a polychromatic scheme of bright blue, green and golden-yellow glazes emerges.
"The intent was to use color in a nuanced way that blended into the sky," said Ms. Willis of the Skyscraper Museum. "Woolworth and Gilbert were serious about the stature of the building as a work of art or" architecture "with the capital" A "."
Over a century later, Alchemy Properties converted the top floors of the 58-story building into 32 condominiums known as The Woolworth Tower Residences. Some residents can get an up-close look at the building's detailed exterior, including its exterior, gargoyles, ogee arches, copper roofs, and windows framed by multi-colored glazed terracotta panels.
"There aren't too many buildings in New York that you can look out the window and see the building you live in," said Ken Horn, president and founder of Alchemy Properties.
The first apartments in Woolworth Tower were launched in 2015, including the penthouse at the top of the building called the Pinnacle. Alchemy began seriously marketing the property in 2017, listing it at a record-breaking $ 110 million. Alchemy is currently offering the penthouse as a "white box" or raw room after a price cut for $ 79 million in 2019. Other available units include a five-bedroom apartment listed for $ 29.95 million and a two-bedroom apartment Bedrooms for $ 5.45 million.
The Park Row building
Across from City Hall Park (and just a stone's throw from the Woolworth Building) at 15 Park Row is the iconic Park Row Building designed by architect R.H. Robertson. When it was completed in 1899, the 391-foot-tall landmark was the tallest in the world and was once the offices of The Associated Press news agency.
The exterior of 15 Park Row is characterized by classic architectural elements such as columns and pilasters, projected decorative balconies and, above all, two four-story domed towers with copper domes that cover the building and help to distinguish it in the skyline.
"One reviewer called them rabbit ears," Dolkart said of the domes. "They were designed to draw attention to the building."
Today, certain residents of 25 Park Row, a newly constructed 50-story, 110-unit luxury condominium adjacent to the Park Row building, can enjoy the front-row view of the domes with popcorn. In addition, every single residence in the building offers a northwest view of City Hall Park and the Woolworth Building, a consideration that, according to CookFox's architect Rick Cook, was instrumental in the architectural design of the building.
"We believe these buildings are talking to each other in the urban space of City Hall Park," said Cook. "Light, shadow and depth are their common language, but each has its own character, personality and place in the urban experience."
The building was first launched in spring 2019. As of the year, fourteen units are still available $ 2.815 million for a two-bedroom penthouse and up to $ 12.5 million for a four-bedroom penthouse on the 42nd floor.
Sign up here to receive weekly email updates on residential property news. Follow us on Twitter: @nytrealestate.