Movies provide a surreal escape into cities that one has never been to or can never be. New York is one such city that creates that canvas for most of the movies. The skyline is so iconic that one doesn’t second guess himself when he spots it on the screen. Although the skyline of New York has been revamped with additions and alterations over the years, the essence of its conception is eloquently retained. The New York Times describes this evolution of the NY skyline as “perpetual flux”. If we were to describe the evolution of this beautiful silhouette as a movie, The Chrysler Building and The Empire State are the big guns, even after almost a century, they can never go unnoticed. Speaking about the recent dominators, One World Trade Center tops the list. Over the years these buildings have constantly evolved to get people closer to the clouds. The only shift noticed is the importance given to residential towers and their demand. 

An overview of the changing skyline of New York - Sheet1
The dreamy skyline of NYC_httpsunsplash.comsphotosnew-york-skyline.jpg
An overview of the changing skyline of New York - Sheet2
The dreamy skyline of NYC_httpsunsplash.comsphotosnew-york-skyline.jpg

The concrete abyss represents not only the architectural and technological progress of the city but also depicts the booming economy. Without monetary substance, these buildings would be mere conceptual sketches in a book.

The ever-growing field of technology buttressed these soaring mammoths to acquire the skies. Apart from this, laws governing the construction sector like the acquisition of air rights over neighboring plots, and smaller ground cover to achieve greater heights also assist these structures. Another innovative approach by most realtors is to utilize the loopholes within old laws and make the best of them. The concept of aerodynamics resonates through all structures, with the to and fro sway of structures and the presence of mechanical dampers these massive chunks are protected from massive tectonic disturbances. Another interesting aspect seen in most of the upcoming skyscrapers is the addition of mechanical floors. These floors have no specific function, they just allow structures to achieve greater heights and thus provide clearer views of the city. 

One World Trade Center | Skyline of New York

An overview of the changing skyline of New York - Sheet3
The dreamy skyline of NYC_httpsunsplash.comsphotosnew-york-skyline

The tallest tower in the Western hemisphere and the 6th tallest tower across the globe, the One World Trade Center stands amidst 5 other towers within the new WTC complex. It was built after the 9/11 attacks and is also called ‘Freedom Towers’. The spire of this tower reaches a massive height of 1776ft, which is a deliberate interpretation of the year that marks the Independence of the nation. It also houses an observatory like most other towers in the vicinity. It is an iconic structure defining the city center and revoking sentimental symbolism to the loss that the site witnessed. A Memorial also exists within the same complex.  

The surge in residential towers in recent times proves a certain necessity that rises among the citizens. Apart from being close to the city center, these luxury condos are also an economic boost. Most of these towers have commercial establishments up to 20 floors, beyond which the residential condos begin. The reason behind this segregation is pretty simple, higher floors mitigate blocked views and provide panoramic bliss. The Singer building is the first vertical residential development that rose beyond 500ft in Lower Manhattan. 

Nordstrom Tower 

An overview of the changing skyline of New York - Sheet4
Central Park

The recent Central Park or the Nordstrom Tower is the tallest residential skyscraper and the second tallest structure in NYC after One WTC. It is estimated to reach a height of 1550ft and to be completed by the end of the year. The lower portion is occupied by the luxury department store, hence the name. The eastern side of the tower cantilevers to emphasize the Central Park sight. These luxury condos will be one of the most expensive residential spaces in the city, because of their location and adaption to the city’s growth. 

Woolworth building | Skyline of New York

An overview of the changing skyline of New York - Sheet5
Woolworth building_istockphoto

The Woolworth building is also another example. This century-old tower which was designed with a neo-Gothic ambition is being revamped into residential condos. Lower floors remain to serve as commercial establishments while the last 30 floors are being converted into apartments along with a penthouse. Its exterior is ornamented by a terracotta facade and several windows. This sort of residential conversion seems to be a new approach that most realtors seem to be considered in the past decade. 


The skyline seems to be getting denser by the decade and while one walks down any street, these colossal stacks make you wonder how insignificant and minuscule you are but at the same time, these structures also remind us how far we as humans have evolved and are still evolving. As much as there is to complain about the concrete jungle, one can never deny the fact that New York has the best skyline. This also makes us wonder what is that addition that we could anticipate for an already perfect spectacle in the coming years. 


A recent Architectural graduate who believes that words are a virtual expression of form. Never been a book fanatic but developed a passion for writing through the course of architecture. She believes that a structure can be nurtured to perspective by the words that describe it.