Walking around Manhattan NYC, Raevian and I were fascinated by the beautiful buildings. Many of them were built during the late 19th century. This period was later termed by Mark Twain as the “Gilded Age”. This is because it was an era where social problems were masked by a thin layer of “gold gilding” – a metaphor for the period’s excesses.
Therefore, we saw many stately and majestic buildings, several which were leaning towards being opulent. Below is a list of 10 famous buildings in Manhattan NYC, arranged in alphabetical order.
Also read: 12 Awesome Things to do in Wall Street
1. Chrysler Building
The Chrysler Building is a skyscraper built in the Art Deco style. This is a classic style of visual arts, architecture and design that originated in France during the 1920s. It was hard to put a finger on the design of the building; on one hand, it was indeed a unique and compelling architectural structure. But I also felt that the design was a bit raw and even slightly crude.
2. Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is a famous Art Deco office building in Midtown Manhattan. It was the tallest building in the world between 1931 and 1970. I had seen this iconic building frequently in Hollywood movies, and it felt surreal to finally see it in person.
3. Flatiron Building
The Flatiron Building is a triangular building that was built way back in 1902. Raevian and I were intrigued by the unique architecture of the building. The triangular design was definitely something we had never seen before in any other parts of the world.
4. Grand Central Terminal
The Grand Central Terminal is a railroad terminal that is intricately designed both externally and internally. It is designated as a U.S. National Historic Landmark. On the top of the station, I saw the beautiful Glory of Commerce sculpture, designed by French sculptor Jules-Felix Coutan in 1914. Standing confidently in the center is Mercury (Hermes in Greek mythology), the patron god of wealth, commerce, business dealings, travel and communication. On Mercury’s right, Hercules looks up at him with admiration and respect, surrounded by technological tools of his time. On the other side of Mercury, Minerva is concentrating on a scroll with a quill pen in hand. Therefore, the sculptural group symbolizes a trinity of business, technology and mental endeavor that are interconnected and interdependent on each other.
The sculpture stands atop a four-meter clock, which contains the world’s largest example of Tiffany glass. This is a beautiful type of stained glass produced from 1878 to 1933 by Louis Comfort Tiffany and other designers.
Inside the building, I was in awe of the ceilings of cathedral proportions adorned with magnificent chandeliers.
5. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is a large complex of buildings that hosts world-famous arts organizations such as the New York Philharmonic, the Juilliard School, the Metropolitan Opera, and the New York City Ballet. It also houses renown concert halls such as the Metropolitan Opera House, the David Geffen Hall, the David H. Koch Theater, etc. Being an avid lover of arts and music, it was a special experience for me to walk around the Lincoln Center complex.
6. Rockefeller Center
30 Rockefeller Plaza
The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
View from Top of the Rock
Radio City Music Hall
Rockefeller Center is a huge complex of 19 buildings commissioned by the powerful Rockefeller family. The buildings are located between 48th and 51st Streets in Manhattan, New York City. I was most impressed by the 30 Rockefeller Plaza, an Art Deco skyscraper that forms the centerpiece of Rockefeller Centre. As we were visiting during the Christmas period, we were lucky enough to see The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in front of the seasonal ice skating rink. We also got tickets to visit Top of the Rock, an observatory on top of 30 Rockefeller Plaza. This was the perfect place to take amazing photographs of New York City.
We saw the Radio City Music Hall, a famous concert hall that also serves as the headquarters for the precision dance group, the Rockettes. Unfortunately, we did not manage to get tickets for The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, an annual Christmas performance by the Rockettes. This was one of our regrets of the trip and we will definitely visit NYC again to catch the show.
7. St. Patrick’s Cathedral
St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral church that was built in 1878. It is located across the street from Rockefeller center. I was intrigued by the beautiful Neo-Gothic design of the church.
8. Trinity Church
Trinity Church is a historic parish church. This is actually the “third” trinity church. The first trinity church was built in 1698, but was destroyed in a fire. The second trinity church was torn down after being weakened by severe snowstorms. The current church was built in 1839, and is considered a classic example of Gothic Revival architecture.
9. United Nations Headquarters
The United Nations Headquarters is made up of four buildings: the General Assembly Building, the Conference Building, the Secretariat Building and the Dag Hammarskjöld Library. I was very much in awe of the General Assembly Building, a stately building that has a multitude of member nations’ flags lining its facade. We managed to spot the Singapore flag here! You can read our full review of the United Nations Headquarters Tour, which is a very interesting and informative tour of the UN’s history, mission, and organizational structure.
10. World Trade Center
One World Trade Center
National September 11 Memorial & Museum
The World Trade Center is a complex of new buildings replacing the original buildings that were destroyed in the 911 attacks. The centerpiece of the complex is One World Trade Center, which is the tallest building in the US. The most significant experience for us was visiting the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. It was hard not to feel emotional while looking at the waters cascading down in the two majestic man-made waterfall structures. The 911 victims’ names are inscribed on the parapets around the waterfalls. The memorials are located directly on the former sites of the World Trade Twin Towers.