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New York architecture

New York’s architectural history is a layer cake of ideas and styles – one that is written on the city’s streets. For architecture buffs, it’s a bricks-and-mortar bonanza.


The Lower Manhattan skyline seen from Brooklyn Bridge

First skyscrapers


Until 1909, the Flatiron was the world’s tallest building. Designed by Daniel Burnham and built in 1902, this 20-storey skyscraper has a uniquely narrow triangular footprint that resembles the prow of a massive ship. It also features a traditional Beaux Arts limestone and terracotta façade that gets increasingly beautiful as you admire it (Broadway, cnr Fifth Ave & 23rd St).


Designed by Willian Van Alen in 1930, the 77-floor Chrysler Building is a dramatic fusion of Art Deco and Gothic aesthetics, adorned with steel eagles, a lavish lobby and a spire that screams Bride of Frankenstein. The building was constructed as the HQ for Walter P Chrysler and his automobile empire. For a great view of the Chrysler, head to the corner of Third Ave and 44th St (405 Lexington Ave, at 42nd St, Midtown East; lobby open 8am–6pm Mon–Fri).

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Lonely Planet - January 2017
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