A History of New York City Skyscrapers (with Bibliography)

Topics: Skyscraper, Chrysler Building, Manhattan Pages: 11 (4646 words) Published: May 17, 2006
A History of New York City Skyscrapers
Whenever anyone thinks of New York City one of the first things that come to mind is the tall extravagant skyscrapers located in this city. Since the late nineteenth century New York has been home to some of the tallest skyscrapers in the world. For many tourists that come to New York City, the first thing they want to see is the skyscrapers of Manhattan.

One of the first skyscrapers built in New York City was the World Building, which many people know as the Pulitzer Building. Joseph Pulitzer was the original owner of this building; he was publisher of the famous magazine the New York World. Pulitzer is a great example of how diverse this city is, because he was the owner of the World Building and he is not even a Native American. Pulitzer was born in Hungary, and immigrated to the United States in 1864. He arrived in Castle Garden penniless, and by 1890 he was the owner of the World Building.

The architect for the World Building was George B. Post. The construction for this building began on October 10th, 1889, and the building was finished and opened for operation almost one year later on December 10th, 1890. This was an amazing feat considering the specifics of this building. This was the first building in New York to surpass 284 feet. The New York World Building was the tallest skyscraper built for major newspapers and magazines in the late 19th century. The World building was 18 stories high and 309 feet tall. Unfortunately the World Building was destroyed in 1955 for an expanded automobile entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge. The New York World building set the pace for many of the future skyscrapers that were built in New York City. Like some other New York City skyscrapers The New York World building is gone, but it is not forgotten. This is a term that this current generation can grasp when it comes to New York City skyscrapers.

After the Pulitzer Building was built in 1890, the Manhattan Life Insurance Company decided that they also needed a high-rise building. In 1892 the Manhattan Life Insurance Company help a nation-wide competition to see who would be the architect for there new building, at 64-66 Broadway across from Trinity Church. Two men by the name of Kimball and Thompson won the competition and there job was to build the tallest structure in New York at the time. This building contained a number of engineering firsts. This was one of the first cases of a building being heated and cooled through electric ventilation. When finished in 1894 this building stood at an outstanding 348 feet tall. The Manhattan Life Building was featured in the New York Times in October of 1893; this building was described as "the tallest in the world, a giant among the office buildings of New York, eighteen stories for the fine new structure of the Manhattan Life Insurance Company." (N.Y. Times, p. 17)

Like many of the great buildings of the late nineteenth century, the Manhattan Life Insurance building didn't stand for a very long time. Competition was very high during these times and this building was demolished in 1930. The Irving Trust Bank bought over this land and created the Irving Trust Company Building in 1931. They demolished the 348 foot Manhattan Life Insurance building, put up a 50 story 654 foot tall building. This building became famous for its address One Wall Street. In 2001 this building began to have some problems with the limestone exterior but the Hoffman Architects were brought in, and they created a plan to preserve this building. This building is still currently standing at One Wall Street, but many people now know this building as the Bank of New York Building. This building is still standing on to this day; it is one of the most important financial buildings in downtown Manhattan.

Following the construction Manhattan Life Insurance Building was the St. Paul building which was built in 1898. This building was named after the historic St. Paul's...

Cited: 1. Graf, Bernhard. Buildings That Changed the World. London: Prestel Publishing, 2004.
2. Leblanc, Sydney. The Architecture Traveler. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2000.
3. Sexton, Joe. "A Day of Terror." New York Times 12 Sept. 2001: 5.
4. Stengren, Bernard. "Biggest Building in the World." New York Times 19 Jan. 1964: 1-2.
5. Unsigned. "The Tallest in the World." New York Times 8 Oct. 1893: 17.
6. Unsigned. "Prince Sees City From a High Point." New York Times
30 Aug. 1907: 7.
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