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There’s a reason that so many popular pictures of high-rises are taken from vantage points near the base: the perspective from that angle makes the buildings look even taller and more impressive than they actually are. I was in midtown last week and decided to go for the stereotype.

That’s the nearly-complete One Vanderbilt Avenue on the left, one of the minority of the current crop of super-talls that’s office space rather than apartments. Its height is partly the result of buying unused zoning air-rights from Grand Central, which is peeking into the shot on the lower right.

The tall building on the upper right is the old Pan Am Building, later the Met Life Building, then Stark Tower, then Avengers Tower. The lower building just to the right of One Vanderbilt is what’s left of the Biltmore Hotel, turned into a rather ugly office building in the 1980s.

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