25 Most Famous Buildings in New York

The most famous buildings in New York feature some of the best architectural features in the world. New York city’s high-end streets accommodate looming towers and famous structures that are fascinating to view.

Some landmarks aren’t popular with tourists but contribute to the city’s history. Most of New York City’s historic buildings allow visitors.

Here are the top 25 iconic buildings in New York.

1. Chrysler Building

Chrysler Building

The Chrysler Building is among the iconic skyscrapers in New York. Like most other prolific NYC skyscrapers, it features the Art Deco style. The building’s 125-foot steel spire makes it quite notable. At 1,050 feet tall, the historic landmark draws attention to the Manhattan skyline.

Its architectural design features some ornamental eagles and a seven-arched crown. You can spot its black and gray-striped façade from various angles in the city. The building’s sculptured birds and gargoyles mirror the Chrysler era in the 1920s.

  • Fun Fact: The Chrysler Building was once the tallest building for about 11 months before being ousted by the Empire State Building.
  • Street Address: 405 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10174
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2. One World Trade Center

One World Trade Center

The One World Trade Center goes by other names, including One WTC, 1WTC, and Freedom Tower. Its architectural design embodies various shapes. The New York skyscraper has a cubic base, with edges forming eight isosceles triangles.

It’s, so far, the tallest in the Western Hemisphere and the sixth-tallest in the world. The One WTC has a sturdy concrete build reinforced with steel bars. Like other notable buildings, it has an observation deck launched to commemorate the Twin Towers.

  • Fun Fact: The One World Trade Center has 71 elevators that can travel as fast as 23 miles per hour.
  • Street Address: 285 Fulton St, New York, NY 10007
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3. The Cooper Union

The Cooper Union

Peter Cooper designed the college’s building. The Cooper Union was built between 1853 and 1859. It’s an Italianate brownstone building reinforced with steel beams. 41 Cooper Square is now the new academic block for The Cooper Union.

The building’s Great Hall has hosted presidents Lincoln, Obama, Roosevelt, Wilson, Cleveland, and Clinton. 41 Cooper Square has grown to become a headline academic and cultural center. The iconic building is a reflection of the aim to advance innovative education.

4. The Empire State Building

The Empire State Building

The Empire State Building was once the tallest in the world. At 1,250 feet tall, the building now ranks seventh. It has the most iconic observation deck and a grand architectural design.

The skyscraper features the Art Deco architectural style, which most tourists find fascinating. Each year, the building hosts more than four million visitors.

There’s an enclosed gallery and standing binoculars for catching the spectacular view of New York. The skyscraper has been featured on many television shows, including the 1933 “King Kong” film. You’ll need to make a reservation before visiting the building.

  • Fun Fact: The Empire State skyscraper was built during the race to construct the world’s tallest building. The upper tower’s original design was to work as a docking port for airships.
  • Street Address: 20 W 34th St., New York, NY 10001
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5. Metropolitan Life Tower

Metropolitan Life Tower

The New York skyscraper is also known as The Metlife Tower. At its opening, the building was branded the world’s largest commercial office space in square footage. The tower’s design was meant to resemble an iconic landmark in Venice called St Mark’s Campanile.

Besides its distinctive design, the tower is located in a prime district just south of Manhattan. The Metlife Tower is located in the reputed “Flatiron District of Manhattan.” Its neighborhood is named after the famous Flatiron Building.

  • Key Highlight: The tower has 2.4 million square feet of usable office space.
  • Street Address: 200 Park Ave, New York, NY 10166
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6. Woolworth Building

Woolworth Building

The 60-story skyscraper features a Neo-Gothic Architectural style. It has one of the most elegant lobbies in the world. The lobby has a marble theme and elements like glass mosaic and a large, vaulted ceiling.

At 792 feet, the building was once the tallest when it was built in 1913. Woolworth building had the fastest elevators when it was opened. The building’s architect, Cass Gilbert, also designed the United States Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.

  • Fun Fact: During World War II, Kellex Corporation, a company that helped develop the atomic bomb, had its office in the building.
  • Street Address: Woolworth Bldg, New York, NY 10007
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7. 56 Leonard Street

56 Leonard Street

The building’s Jenga-like architectural design has made it grab a significant share of New York’s condo market. It’s a 60-story skyscraper with 135 apartments and ten penthouse suites.

The interior finishes depict the epitome of a luxury lifestyle. 56 Leonard Street has other zones, including the lobby, townhouses, amenities, and penthouses. There’s also an unobstructed view of NYC from the penthouses.

  • Key Highlight: 56 Leonard Street has the perk of being situated in central Tribeca location. Tribeca is New York’s prime location with dining, shopping, and entertainment amenities.
  • Street Address: 56 Leonard St, New York, NY 10013
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8. The Rockefeller Center

The Rockefeller Center

The skyscraper is New York’s famous cultural center named after John D. Rockefeller. His dream was to create “a city within a city.” The building was the largest private project ever completed in the contemporary era. It had more than 40,000 employees during construction, and over 125,000 daily visitors by the fall season of 1939.

Up until the 1970s, the Rockefeller Center was continuously gentrified. The Rockefeller Center is home to more than 100 murals and distinctive artworks. It also has some of the grand landmarks in New York City.

  • Fun Fact: The land where the Rockefeller building sits was bought for less than $5,000.
  • Street Address: 45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10111
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9. Oculus

Parametric Architecture

Also known as the World Trade Center, the Oculus serves as a terminal station. It began its operation in 2016 to replace the temporary station after 9/11.

Its interior is appealing and has almost 800,000 square feet of space. The structure is Italian-made. It was built by the Pordenone corporation and then shipped to New York. The company has designed stadiums in Cardiff and Athens.

Some term it the “Twin” of Calatrava train station. The same architects built it, hence the resemblance.

  • Fun Fact: The Oculus is reported to be one of the most expensive railway stations in the world.
  • Street Address: 185 Greenwich St LL3110, New York, NY 10006
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10. St. Patrick’s Cathedral

St. Patrick's Cathedral
St Patrick’s Cathedral

Archbishop John Hughes had plans to build the church over 150 years ago. It’s on Fifth Avenue in New York. The church is the largest Gothic Roman Catholic Cathedral in the United States.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral holds about 2,400 people. It has 21 altars and 19 bells, each named after a particular saint. About eight New York Archbishops were buried in a stone-chambered vault under the high altar. During a regular schedule, there are about 15 daily masses and 150 annual weddings.

  • Fun Fact: More than one million prayer candles are lit every year. Plus, over five million people visit St. Patrick’s cathedral each year.
  • Street Address: 5th Ave, New York, NY 10022
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11. The Flatiron Building

The Flatiron Building

The Flatiron Building was originally the Fuller Building. It’s a 22-story skyscraper reinforced with steel frames. The building was constructed in 1902 at the Fifth Avenue and Broadway intersection.

The Flatiron Building was once among the notable architectural landmarks. It remains to be a highlight of the streets of New York. Chicago architect Daniel Burnham designed the unique triangular structure.

It features a sturdy steel shell with a limestone base. Some of the exterior artworks have a French and Italian Renaissance influence. There’s a triangular free exhibition on the ground floor known as the Spring Flatiron Prow Artspace.

  • Key Highlight: Today, the building is featured in television commercials and documentaries. It’s a noticeable landmark of New York City. The Flatiron Building has been seen during scene transitions on TV shows like Spin City, Veronica’s Closet, and Friends.
  • Street Address: 175 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010
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12. Apollo Theater

Apollo Theater

The Apollo Theater has been New York’s home of entertainment since 1913. It wasn’t always called the Apollo Theater, as the ownership changed hands several times.

During its early years, the theater didn’t open its doors to African-American audiences. Still, the Apollo is among the first theaters in Harlem to allow black performers and mixed-race audiences.

Its original dressing rooms are still intact. There are lots of performers whose careers kicked off at the Apollo. Some stars include Stevie Wonder, Machine Gun Kelly, Ne-Yo, Bobby Short, and more.

  • Fun Fact: On April 24, 2002, Micheal Jackson made his last on-stage performance at the Apollo Theater.
  • Street Address: 253 W 125th St, New York, NY 10027
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13. Jane’s Carousel

Jane’s Carousel

Jane and David Walentas bought the Carousel at an auction in 1984. Jane’s Carousel is a classic park where you could take kids for a ride. The entire park is ADA accessible and has lots of free events.

It sits between the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge in Empire-Fulton Ferry Park. The carousel is a suitable spot for taking photos of Lower Manhattan. You also get a spectacular view of the old brick DUMBO warehouses and Brooklyn Bridge Park.

  • Fun Fact: Brooklyn Bridge Park has no entrance fee as Jane’s Carousel does not manage it.
  • Street Address: New Dock St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
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14. New York Stock Exchange

New York Stock Exchange
Ken Lund

The iconic NYC building is among the famous landmarks along Wall Street. NYSE is the largest stock exchange in the world. It’s also the oldest stock exchange and dates back to 1972.

When it opened, it became the largest indoor space in the United States. However, the NYSE building is no longer accessible to the public. It has been closed to the public since the 9/11 terrorist attack.

  • Fun Fact: Up until 1862, it was called the New York Stock & Exchange Board.
  • Street Address: 11 Wall St, New York, NY 10005
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15. Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central Terminal is also known by other names, including Terminal GCT and Grand Central. Its four-paced opal clock is one of the main attractions at the terminal.

Besides trains, the terminal is an excellent spot for shopping, dining, entertainment, and luxury. The station’s ceiling has 12 zodiac constellations painted in reverse. The iconic Grand Central Information Booth Clock is estimated to be worth around $20 million.

At the entrance, visitors are also welcome by the Tiffany clock, which is surrounded by the Transportation statue. The statue mimics three Roman gods watching over New York residents.

  • Key Highlight: The fourth floor, which overlooks Park Avenue, hosts Vanderbilt Tennis. You can play tennis while waiting for your train.
  • Street Address: 89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017
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16. Radio City Music Hall

Radio City Music Hall

Radio City Music Hall opened in December 1932 during the Great Depression. Its state-of-the-art architectural design breathed new life and hope into the city. John D. Rockefeller bought the piece of Manhattan, which now hosts Radio City and Rockefeller Center.

Radio City was meant to be an inexpensive theater. Donald Deskey, an interior designer, pieced together Art Deco, elegance, and splendor. All the hall’s furnishings from 1932 have also been restored.

It has more than 25,000 lights, hydraulic-powered elevators, and four-color stage lighting. These days, the theater plays select films and classic movies.

  • Fun Fact: The Radio City Music Hall once hosted the world’s largest orchestra.
  • Street Address: 1260 6th Ave, New York, NY 10020
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17. One Times Square

One Times Square

Before The New York Times moved its base to the building, it was named Longacre Square. The building receives about 50 million visitors a year. Times Square isn’t geometrically square.

It resembles two triangles intersecting the horizontal and vertical street grid of Manhattan. The building is so lit–it can be seen from outer space. One Times Square features the NASDAQ, the world’s largest LED sign. It costs about $1.1 million to purchase an LED sign at Times Square.

  • Fun Fact: An estimated 2 million people gathered at Times Square to celebrate the end of World War II.
  • Street Address: 1 Times Sq, New York, NY 10036
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18. New York Life Building

New York Life Building

The New York Life building is located at 51 Madison Avenue in Manhattan. It also borders Madison Square Park. The third-largest company, New York Life Insurance Company, commissioned the building.

Renowned architect Cass Gilbert designed the New York Life Building. He’s also known for multiple other iconic buildings like 90 West Street and the Woolworth Building. The building’s Art Deco design complements the iconic NYC skyline. Its design also blends a few gothic elements.

  • Fun Fact: The building’s lobby is huge and resembles a cathedral. Some of the design elements are inspired by Salisbury Cathedral, an England church.
  • Street Address: 51 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10010
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19. Hearst Tower

Hearst Tower

The Hearst Tower sits at the southwest edge of 57th Street and Eighth Avenue. It’s close to Columbus Circle in Midtown Manhattan. Being centrally located makes its glass and steel diagrid design quite visible.

Besides its jagged glass facade, the building is rated the greenest skyscraper in the world. Some of the building’s green aspects include 85% recycled steel frames, radiant cooling systems, and rainwater recycling.

  • Fun Fact: Hearst Tower began as a six-story limestone building. It was later completed in 1928.
  • Street Address: 300 W 57th St, New York, NY 10019
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20. Madison Square Garden

Madison Square Garden

Also abbreviated as MSG, Madison Square Garden is a multifunction arena in Midtown Manhattan. Its arena ceiling is one of MSG’s iconic features.

The reverse dome ceiling was designed by arena architect Charles Luckman. Madison Square Garden holds multiple events and shows on the same day. The arena underwent major renovations in 2011 but still has some retro elements.

  • Fun Fact: Layers of ice are put underneath the basketball court to keep the arena cool during an afternoon game.
  • Street Address: 4 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, NY 10001
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21. American Radiator Tower

American Radiator Tower

The building’s black and gold facade gives it some limelight in Midtown Manhattan. It’s located in Bryant Park behind the main New York Public Library. Its architects, John Howell and Raymond Hood, designed the building to resemble the company’s signature product.

The American Radiator Building’s black brick represents coal. It has floodlights that look like a “giant glowing coal” at night. The symbolic effect became an advertisement for the American Radiator Company.

  • Fun Fact: Its Gothic-style pinnacles at the entrance create a striking sidewalk view from West 40th Street.
  • Street Address: 40 W 40th St, New York, NY 10018
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22. Ansonia Hotel

Ansonia Hotel

The legendary NYC building is perhaps one of the most infamous buildings on the Upper West Side. It was built by William Earle Dodge Stokes, who started a small farm on the building’s roof.

It’s also rumored that the Ansonia had a palatial gay bathhouse. There were tubings installed within the walls to facilitate communication. Despite its flawed reputation, the Ansonia Hotel is still an iconic building in New York worth paying a visit to.

  • Key Highlight: The Ansonia opened in 1904, and the total construction cost was $3 million.
  • Street Address: 2109 Broadway #101, New York, NY 10023
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23. Seagram Building

Seagram Building
Steven Zucker

The Seagram Building is close to other major landmarks in NYC, including Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and Grand Central Terminal. It’s located at 375 Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan.

While it’s a skyscraper standing 516 feet tall, there are over 150 taller buildings in New York. Though it features a modern architectural design, the Seagram Building was completed in 1958.

  • Fun Fact: Its structural steel design influenced many existing buildings. The glass walls are just hung from the steel frame.
  • Street Address: 375 Park Ave, New York, NY 10152
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24. 432 Park Avenue

432 Park Avenue

432 Park Avenue is a residential skyscraper situated on the self-styled Billionaires’ Row in Midtown Manhattan. The area goes by this name as it hosts several ultra-luxurious towers.

The building is also the third-tallest residential skyscraper in the world at the time of writing. It has ten elevators and 2-story windbreaks every 12 floors to lower wind load. The windbreak floors are also illuminated at night to give the tower a gripping appearance.

  • Fun Fact: The skyscraper was built in 1926 on the site of a deteriorated building since there was little space left on Billionaires’ Row.
  • Street Address: 432 Park Ave, New York, NY 10022
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25. Macy’s Herald Square

Macy’s Herald Square
Architect Magazine

The building’s 2.2 million square feet once made it the world’s largest department store until 2009. It was overtaken by a South Korean chain store, Shinsegae, which has about 3.16 million square feet.

Macy’s has been in existence since 1912. The building has an estimated value of $3.3 billion. Each year, about 20 million shoppers visit Macy’s Herald Square. In 1932, the chain store introduced the first colored bath towels to America.

  • Fun Fact: The official New York Center is located in Macy’s Herald Square.
  • Street Address: 151 W 34th St., New York, NY 10001
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