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The most beautiful NYC buildings

These stunning NYC buildings—from Flatiron to the World Trade—will have you falling in love with the city all over again

Photograph: Shutterstock

NYC’s skyline is the eighth wonder of the world, which is why we took it upon ourselves to highlight the most beautiful NYC buildings. Call us crazy, but whether you've lived in Gotham your whole life or you're just visiting, there's nothing quite like the rush of seeing the best views in NYC from either the Empire State Building or The Chrysler. But what about the sheer architecture of our art museums? Or the city's lesser-known gems like the conservatory at the New York Botanical Garden? We've put together the most breathtaking skyscrapers and more right here, encompassing the city's architectural peaks. So go check 'em all out, along with the many other New York attractions we love.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to New York attractions

Most beautiful NYC buildings

1

Flatiron Building

The triangular peculiarity of the Flatiron Building has been one of the New York’s most captivating and talked-about edifices. When it was built in 1902, it so defied common architectural practices that it was commonly believed it would collapse as soon as it was faced by a strong gust of wind. Over a century later, it’s still standing, and even served as the office of the fictional Daily Bugle in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies. 175 Fifth Ave between 22nd and 23rd Sts

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Flatiron
2
The Gingerbread House

The Gingerbread House

Sometime during World War I, Hansel and Gretel apparently packed up and moved to Bay Ridge to construct their dream home. The result? This fairy-tale-sequel, block-wide, stone-and-thatched-roof cottage. And guess what? It’s been on the market for a mere $10.5 million! We assume there must be a stock of magical potions in the basement that’s driving up the price. 8220 Narrows Ave between 82nd and 83rd Sts, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn

3

Le Cirque at the Bloomberg Tower

You’re familiar with the Bloomberg Tower, right? Given it’s NYC’s 15th-tallest building, you can’t miss it. But at the foot of this otherwise unremarkable skyscraper is the building’s courtyard, circled by a glorious, curving glass structure that’s housed Le Cirque restaurant since 2006. 151 E 58th St between Lexington and Third Aves

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Midtown East
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4
Harlem Courthouse

Harlem Courthouse

Built in 1891, this municipal courthouse functioned as such until 1961 and contained 40 jail cells until the 1940s; it’s now the more friendly-sounding Harlem Community Justice Center. Architecturally speaking, this is a Romanesque Revival building with Victorian flourishes—just look at those lovely gabled roofs and archways, and the belfry with four clock faces. We’d like to see it used in the next Wes Anderson movie, please. E 121st St

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5

Woolworth Building

High and mighty, indeed: The Woolworth Building is one of New York City’s 20 tallest buildings, and at the time of its erection (ahem) in 1913, it was the tallest in the world. Its lights were turned on in a fancy opening ceremony by President Woodrow Wilson, who pushed the on switch from Washington, D.C. Since the demise of the Woolworth Company in the ’90s, the building has passed hands to property developers who plan to convert the top 30 floors into luxury condos. Priced at $110 million, the penthouse will be downtown Manhattan’s most expensive sale. 233 Broadway

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Financial District
6

The American Radiator Building

Has any actual radiator in history looked as grand and gorgeous as this? Perhaps the radiators in the White House? Wait, perhaps the radiators in the Radiator Building! Either way, this glorious Gothic tower was built for the American Radiator Company in 1924 by John Howells and Raymond Hood, and is the subject of Georgia O’Keeffe’s 1927 painting, Radiator Building—Night, New York. The building’s black brick symbolizes coal, and the gold brick represents fire. It’s now the fancy Bryant Park Hotel. 40 W 40th St

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Midtown West
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7

Chrysler Building

As iconic as it is, the Chrysler Building must suffer from a serious little-brother complex. It held the undisputed title of world’s tallest scraper for a mere 346 days after its completion in May 1930, at which point it was usurped by…the Empire State Building, only a few blocks away. (Stupid Empire State Building, always hogging the postcard images and whatnot.) Amazingly, Walter P. Chrysler funded the entire construction out of his own pocket. 405 Lexington Ave between 42nd and 43rd Sts

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Midtown East
8
4 World Trade Center

4 World Trade Center

The original, nine-story 4 WTC was destroyed on 9/11, so its replacement, a glimmering glass tower designed by the legendary Fumihiko Maki that opened to the public November 2013, is all about renewal—in more ways than one. Indeed, 100 percent of the energy used in the building comes from renewable sources like solar and wind. And hey, business world, there’s still plenty of office space available! 4 World Trade Center

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9

Rockefeller Center

Take a look at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, in all its magnificent, truly skyscraping, slender, elegant glory—and it’s hard to not hear the opening refrain from "Rhapsody in Blue" playing, such is this building’s old-school New York romanticism. Completed in 1939 by tycoon and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr. in the Art Deco style, it’s long been the HQ of NBC and still houses such TV classics as Saturday Night Live. But our favorite 30 Rock feature? The Christmas tree, of course! 1250 Sixth Ave

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10

Van Cortlandt House Museum

The sturdy gray fieldstone structure of the Van Cortlandt House dates back to before the Revolutionary War, and served as a homestead for the Van Cortlandt family until the late 19th century. George Washington stayed there on no less than two occasions, during which he remarked, “I cannot tell a lie; this is a nice house.” (Probably not true.) Broadway, Van Cortlandt Park at 246th St, Bronx

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The Bronx
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Comments

8 comments
Hannan A
Hannan A

There are always two view of a building, what we see? And what it is? What we see is the look of a building. And what it is, the hard work, material and the engineering behind the creativity. That’s why never forgot to appreciate the engineers of these 40 NYC buildings.


Michal K
Michal K

I wonder how can anyone call this beautiful. For example the Irving Trust Company building? Like what the actual hell? Or the Radiator building... There is a huge difference between beautiful and iconic. Or they have totally different sense of beauty in the US.

Chelsea B
Chelsea B

Check out Morris Jumel Mansion-- morrisjumel.org -- Wash Heights South's best hidden gem :) public gardens and yoga for the locals in the drawing room :)

65 Jumel Terrace (& 162nd St), just east of the C train at 163rd.

Claudia T
Claudia T

You missed one of the great mansions that rarely is seen by most New Yorkers, the Bechtel Mansion on St Pauls Ave in Stapleton Heights or the stately Greek Revival buildings of Snug Harbor Cultural Center, formerly Sailors Snug Harbor.    

David G
David G

I was so worried that Alwyn Court was not on the list because I think its absolutely one of the most beautiful building ever made. So glad to know this site has really good taste.

Carolyn O
Carolyn O

These photos are wonderful. I lived in Stuyvesant Town for over 30 yrs. and this tour makes me feel proud of my city. I'd like to see you include a picture of the Church of St. Vincent Ferrer at the corner of Lexington Ave. and 66th St. The church is the greatest example of Late Gothic Revival architectural in this country. It's been designated a New York City landmark in 1967, and also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. I feel it truly should be considered for inclusion in your List of 30 Most Beautiful Buildings in NYC.  It's very rich in the city's architectural history.