NYC’s Tallest Buildings

Nowhere to go but up: That’s long been the motto in New York, the city that never sleeps, the city that promises people if you can make it here you can make it anywhere. Big talk and hyperbole are part of the Big Apple deal. Never has it been more demonstrably true then it is now, as a blistering spate of super-tall skyscrapers are being built and redefining the New York City skyline.

In an examination of this high-rise era, The New York Times in June 2016 produced an entire special magazine dedicated to examining the “high-altitude archipelago” being expanded by developers who won tax abatements seeking to build luxury residences and office buildings catering not to New Yorkers, but to the world’s richest who want a place to live and invest. Right now, NYC has 21 buildings exceeding 800 feet — seven completed in the past 15 years, and three of those in the past 36 since months, the NY Times noted.

StreetEasy set the bar a little higher. We looked at commercial and residential NYC skyscrapers that top 1,000 feet, including existing buildings and newcomers that have financing or are already under construction. This list includes the iconic Chrysler and Empire State buildings as well as newcomers slated for the Hudson Yards mega-project and the rebirth at the World Trade Center.

1. One World Trade Center: 1,776 feet

This behemoth is the largest among several buildings being brought to the 16-acre “Ground Zero” site left in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers. The site already includes the National 9/11 Memorial, which honors victims of both the 1993 and 2001 attacks. If the height of this super-tall sounds patriotically familiar, that’s because it is. In the rebuilding of this commerce center in lower Manhattan, One World Trade was given added symbolism by referencing the Declaration of Independence through its epic 1,776-foot reach. The only catch is that the final 408-foot spire placed on top of the building back in 2013 was threatened to be called “phantom height,” aimed to give One World Trade the slight advantage over Chicago’s Willis Tower (1,451 feet). The floor-to-roof height of the building is 1,368 feet. However, the spire has been ruled an essential architectural detail of One World Trade, so its height has been certified. It is the highest in New York City, the U.S. and the Western Hemisphere. The interior contains 3.5 million square feet of space, including an observation deck.

2. Nordstrom Tower: 1,550 feet

(To be completed 2019)

Located at 217 West 57th Street, Nordstrom Tower (also known as Central Park Tower) is being developed by Extell. It was originally planned to be 1,775 feet including a spire, which would have put it exactly one foot below the record height at One World Trade Center. However, the commercial/residential super-tall is now slated to stand 1,550 feet, making it the second-tallest building in New York City and the U.S. It is being anchored by Nordstrom, the West Coast-based department store, and will boast $4.4 billion in condo residences on the upper floors. It will be the tallest residential tower in the U.S. at 130 floors.

3. 111 West 57th Street: 1,428 feet

(To be completed 2018)

Not just super-tall, but super slim, 111 West 57th Street will be an 82-story building from JDS Development Group and Property Markets Group and is being designed by SHoP Architects. In spring of 2016, the beginning stages of development were underway for this residential tower that feature 42 full-floor apartments starting on the 16th floor, with lower floors holding as many as five units. Retail outlets will occupy the first four floors with office space on the fifth floor. Of note, 111 West 57th is using the tallest freestanding crane (220 feet) ever in the history of New York City construction.

4. 432 Park Avenue: 1,395 feet

Until Central Park Tower and 111 West 57th Street are ready for occupants, 432 Park lays claim to being the highest residential tower in the Western Hemisphere. Built on the site of the former Drake Hotel and designed by Rafael Vinoly, the building is located on Park Avenue between 56th and 57th Streets. The 96-story tower contains 125 units, including a bevy of full-floor penthouses, some of which fetched over $80 million. All windows measure an expansive 10 feet by 10 feet — better to see some of the most amazing views of Central Park, the Hudson and East Rivers, Atlantic Ocean, and many iconic Manhattan buildings.

5. 30 Hudson Yards: 1,287 feet

(To be completed 2019)

In the Hudson Yards project by Related on 11th Avenue between 30th and 33rd streets, 30 Hudson Yards is the tallest of the Hudson Yards buildings and will be the second-tallest office building in NYC. The building will contain 2.5 million square feet of commercial space and includes an observation deck at 1,000 feet, complete with something called a “thrill device.” Hearty souls with no fear of heights can walk out onto a glass walkway that slants to induce greater sense of thrills, chills and possibly vertigo.


6. Empire State Building: 1,250 feet

The Empire State Building is the granddaddy of them all, even if it’s no longer the tallest! Built in 1931, this Art Deco dandy still ranks among the tallest after nearly 100 years of defining the NYC skyline. 

7. Bank of America Tower: 1,200 feet

Also known as “One Bryant Park,” this commercial tower was developed by the Durst Corporation and was completed in 2010. It is home to Bank of America and the Durst Corporation and runs 55 stories and contains 2.35 million square feet of interior space. Sit in Bryant Park any lunchtime and this tower dominates the view.


8. 3 World Trade Center: 1,079 feet

(To be completed 2018)

3 World Trade comes up a bit short against 1 World Trade, the No. 1 tallest building in NYC, U.S. and Western Hemisphere. Under construction since 2008, 3WTC entered a hiatus during the financial meltdown before finding an anchor tenant. Its original plans were for a building at 1,240 feet. The original building at 3 World Trade Center was a Marriott, destroyed in the attacks of 9/11.

9. 53W53: 1,050 feet

(To be completed 2018)

Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, 53 West 53rd Street, also known as 53W53 and MoMA Tower, is due to be completed in 2018. This striking building will rise 82 stories and house 145 residences designed by interior architect Thierry Despont. The Museum of Modern Art will have three floors of gallery space in the new building.



10. Chrysler Building: 1,046 feet

This Art Deco dandy once held the distinction for a few months of being the highest building in the world, until 11 months later when the Empire State Building opened in 1931. Located at 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue, it was once the home of the Chrysler Corporation through the 1950s, and is now owned by Abu Dhabi Investment Council. It is tied with the NY Times Building at 1,046 feet tall.

11. New York Times Building: 1,046 feet

Renzo Piano designed this tower for the New York Times Company and its development partner, Forest City Ratner Companies. Finished in 2007, it is a significant addition to the NYC skyline at just over 1,000 feet. The 52-story glass and steel structure is made of floor-to-ceiling glass windows, exposed steel columns and accents of red and marigold.

Piano designed the building with a dramatic double-skin curtain wall with ceramic rods that act as a sun screen, and an inner wall of floor-to-ceiling water-white glass. Piano has opened the lobby space by spreading the elevator shafts so that one can see more than 350 feet through the space.

12. 3 Hudson Boulevard: 1,034 feet

(To be completed 2019)

Moinian Group

Foundation work is underway in this stand-alone project from the Moinian Group. Located just a block north of the Hudson Yards mega-project, but located in the Hudson Yards Special District, 3 Hudson Boulevard will rise up between 11th Avenue and Hudson Boulevard between West 34th and West 35th streets. The $2 billion tower will stand 66 stories and contain 1.8 million square feet in interior space.

13. 125 Greenwich Street: 1,017 feet

(To be completed 2018)

Shvo Group rendering

125 Greenwich Street is a mixed-use super-tall being built in the Financial Districtand slated for completion in 2018. Plans call for 91 stories and 275 condominiums at this location, otherwise known as 22 Thames. It is being developed by Michael Shvo, Vector Group and Bizzi & Partners based on Rafael Viñoly Architects’ design.

14. 35 Hudson Yards: 1,009 feet

(To be completed 2018)

35 Hudson Yards is the squarish building in the middle.

This Hudson Yards mixed-use tower will stand at 11th Avenue and West 33rd Street. Part of the Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group’s tower grouping, this will contain 137 condo units that start on the 31st floor, along with office space, stores and an Equinox hotel and fitness club. The cool cylindrical shape will rise 72 stories and is designed by David Childs and SOM. at 11th Avenue and West 33rd Street will rise to 1,009 feet and 72 stories. The mixed-use project designed by David Childs and SOM.

15. One57: 1,004 feet

Located at 157 West 57th Street, One57 is an elegant glass building was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Christian de Portzamparc with interiors from Thomas Juul-Hansen. Residents have access to the Park Hyatt Hotel amenities in this Midtown gem.