Each time I visit New York, my first instinct upon arrival in Manhattan is always the same. Emerging from the subway, I look up and rubberneck the squadron of skyscrapers. The guilty pleasure undoubtedly brands me a tourist faster even than when I order “pop” instead of “soda” (hey, some habits die hard). But to a Midwesterner turned D.C. resident accustomed to height restrictions on buildings, skyscrapers induce giddiness in a way I can’t quite explain.
Not that I’m the first, mind you, to be struck by New York’s architecture, and certainly there are many more qualified. Enter Rick Bell, head of the Center for Architecture, who recently revealed his own picks for ten great buildings to see in New York.
The list eschews icons like the Empire State Building, opting instead for more contemporary additions such as the flagship Prada store (pictured), with its distinctive Rem Koolhaas-designed zebrawood wave, and SoHo’s Apple store, tucked inside a 1920s stone-and-brick post office.
Bell’s complete list follows:
- Conde Nast Building, an eco-friendly 866-foot-tall skyscraper in Times Square.
- Brooklyn Museum, “a suitable centerpiece for Brooklyn’s burgeoning hipster art scene.”
- Prada New York, an architectural wonder that feels like it just happens to sell clothing and shoes.
- Rose Center for Earth and Space, an “illuminated 87-foot diameter sphere, which appears to be floating in a huge glass cube.”
- Apple Store, SoHo, whose stone facade gives way to a white-walled ice cave of cool.
- Grand Central Terminal, the green vaulted ceilings alone are worth staring at for hours; free tours sponsored by the Municipal Arts Society are offered Wednesdays at 12:30 p.m. (leaving from the main concourse’s informational booth).
- Morgan Library expansion, a 1906 Beaux-Arts building considered one of Renzo Piano’s “masterpieces.”
- Chrysler Building, “a phenomenal example of art deco architecture that is both elegant and fun.” Find it on the cover of the April issue of Traveler!
- Hearst Tower, with “diagonal gridwork and see-through glass panels, with no vertical supporting columns,” making the “sleek design unique in the world.”
- Seagram Building, a “perfect glass box” that “transformed [New York’s] skyline.”
Which buildings do you think deserve to be on the list? Tell us in the comments below.
Photo: William Perez