No, this is not about real estate. This is about New York touching the sky.

And our city wouldn’t be able to do it without a super-strong bedrock to sustain its glass and concrete colossi. Luckily, Manhattan is just that! If you need proof, just head to Central Park. Those huge, geologically ancient boulders you can find pointing out everywhere are called schist – and they are the primary reason why our iconic skyline can get so high.

Skyscrapers push the envelope when it comes to mankind’s architectural achievements. Always reaching higher, always conquering the heavens. New York’s history of skyscrapers officially began in 1890 when the World Building reaching 348 feet (106 m) was completed.

One World Trade Center and buildings reflect cloudy blue sky

One World Trade Center

Now, more than a century later, the Big Apple is home to over 6000 high rise structures, of which more than 100 surpass the 600 ft (183 m) threshold.

Although the Empire State Building was once hailed as the tallest structure on the planet, there are new monolithic kids on the block, which you should definitely check out if you get the chance.

One World Trade Center

Rising 1,776 ft (541 m) tall, the Freedom Tower holds the title as the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, and sixth-tallest in the world. This giant behemoth holds the name as the original World Trade Center destroyed in 9/11 and stands as a memorial to the victims who perished in the terrorist attacks. Its architect was David Childs, who, interestingly enough, has also designed the Willis Towers and the famous Burj Khalifa in UAE.

When the spire was finally installed, it’s total height in feet (1776) was a deliberate reference to the year of signing the Declaration of Independence. The complex will also include five more office buildings down the Greenwich Street and a National September 11 Memorial and Museum.

432 Park Avenue

This gorgeous piece of architecture overlooking Central Park is a residential skyscraper, so imagine what would it be like to have an apartment somewhere at the top. Although the view is beyond words, having to take an elevator nearly 1,300 ft (400 m) down just to buy cigarettes can be a nightmare.

432 park avenue skyscraper at twilight in manhattan

432 Park Avenue

Although the structure was originally designed to be 1,300 ft tall, it topped out at 1,396 ft (425.5 m) by the end of the year 2015, receiving the title as the second tallest skyscraper in NYC.

30 Hudson Yards

The Hudson Yards

The Hudson Yard during construction

Also known as the North Tower, this supertall office building resting in the Manhattan’s West Side area is expected to be complete in early 2019. Nestled near Chelsea, the Penn Station area, and the famous Hell’s Kitchen, this structure is just a part of the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project.

Designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox, it was originally intended to be 1,337 ft (408m) tall, but it was downsized to 1,296 ft (395 m).

The Empire State Building

The Empire State Building

The Empire State Building

This is the most iconic symbol of New York City to date. It is also one of Hollywood’s most featured landmarks ever since King Kong has climbed it back in 1933. This Art Deco skyscraper was completed in 1931 and stands a total of 1,250 ft (380 m) at roof height and 1,454 ft (443 m) with its antenna included.

It was hailed as the tallest structure on Earth for nearly 40 years until the World Trade Center’s North Tower was completed in Lower Manhattan back in 1970. After 9/11, it regained the title as the tallest structure in New York City for another decade until One World Trade Center was completed.

The Bank of America TowerThe Bank of America Tower

In the Midtown area of Manhattan rests a 1,200 ft (365 m) giant, which was advertised as one the most efficient and ecologically sound structures in the world. It took US$1 billion to complete this project in 2009.

Environmentally friendly technologies are implemented in its design and construction, including the automatic daylight dimming system, recyclable building materials, greywater system for capturing rainwater, air filtration, floor-to-ceiling insulated glazing, etc.

Other NYC skyscrapers worthy of mentioning

  • 3 World Trade Center
  • Chrysler Building
  • The New York Times Building
  • 40 Wall Street
  • Woolworth Building
  • Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower

New York City can definitely boast an impressive record, but who knows what heights will skyscrapers conquer in the future? It’s like an international race to the stars. One day you are the tallest, and next thing you know, you are overshadowed by an even greater giant.