A Perspective on Supertalls

The usual skyline views of New York are from Queens looking west to midtown Manhattan, from Brooklyn looking west to downtown Manhattan, or from New Jersey looking east to Manhattan. The view above, from a rooftop in Alphabet City, is looking north to midtown and with a Queens add-on. From the left:

  • Central Park Tower, near Eighth Avenue on 57th Street. Highest main roof (1550 feet) in the US. (The new 1WTC has that spire/pushpin on top of its roof that makes it taller.)
  • One Vanderbilt, near Park Avenue on 42nd Street. 1401 feet.
  • 111 West 57th Street (near Sixth Avenue), 1428 feet and with a slenderness of 24.
  • [Not a supertall: The Pan Am / Met Life / Stark Tower Building at Park Avenue and 46th Street. A squat 808 feet.]
  • Chrysler, 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue. First building (as opposed to a decorative tower) over 1000 feet at 1046 feet.
  • 432 Park Avenue (57th Street), 1397 feet.

Then we’ve got some lower buildings in east midtown, three identical brick towers of Waterside Plaza (23rd Street and East River), and then on the far right is the new skyscraper cluster in Long Island City, across the river from midtown.

This is very much not the normal view of these buildings and it’s not a particularly glamorous view. It does a decent job of setting the buildings into the overall cityscape. Unlike the fantasies often seen in renderings, these buildings are surrounded by city and therefore surrounded by other buildings of all sorts of shapes and sizes. But, as I’ve said before, I prefer seeing the mountains surrounded by the foothills.

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