The 10 Most Beautiful Historical Buildings In NYC

© Alpineguide - Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Sean Scarisbrick
9 February 2017

New York City is home to skyscrapers of all variations. Perhaps the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building are the most commonly noted buildings in New York City, but there are many other beautiful structures of note. The following is a list of 10 historical buildings in the big apple that are worth a second look.

Trinity Church

Trinity Church
The spire and cross that tops the historic Trinity Church is 281 feet tall | © Anthony DelMundo / NY Daily News via Getty Images
The first Trinity Church was built on land designated in a charter by King William III in 1697, and it was destroyed in a fire in 1776. The second Trinity Church was opened in 1790, and it was torn down in 1839 after damage from severe snow. The third Trinity Church, which still stands today, opened in 1846 and was designed by Richard Upjohn with extravagant Gothic architecture. The church holds 23 bells, three sets of extravagant bronze doors, and a number of sculptures. In 1976, Trinity Church became a National Historic Landmark.

Federal Hall National Memorial

Building, Memorial
federal hall national memorial with george washington statue New York City USA
JG0HGK federal hall national memorial with george washington statue New York City USA JG0HGK_ | © Radharc Images _ Alamy Stock Photo
Federal Hall was built in 1700, and it became a center of the United States after the Revolutionary War when George Washington was inaugurated as president here. This building was destroyed in 1812, and a new structure was raised to create the New York City Hall. On May 26, 1942, the building became the Federal Hall National Memorial. It is an extraordinary building, and a statue of George Washington, which was created by John Quincy Adams Ward in 1882, guards the outside. The Doric columns outside represent the democracy of the Greeks, and the dome inside represents the Roman Pantheon and their republic.

St. Patrick's Cathedral

Building, Cathedral, Church
Detail of facade, St Patrick Cathedral of New York City.
St Patrick’s Cathedral sits amid midtown’s skyscrapers | © Architect's Eye / Alamy Stock Photo
The building of St. Patrick’s Cathedral began in 1858, and it was completed in 1878. It was designed in the neo-Gothic style by James Renwick, Jr. The cathedral is enormous, taking up an entire city block, with spires that stretch more than 300 feet above viewers. It is filled with stained glass by designers from France and England, and a beautiful rose window draws in colored light. William Ordway Patridge’s Pietà, the stations of the cross, and the organs draw tourists inside to view the cathedral in all its beauty.

The Dakota

The Dakota building where John Lennon lived and died. Image shot 2011. Exact date unknown.
© Ray Warren NYC _ Alamy Stock Photo
Construction of the Dakota was completed in 1884, and luxury apartments became available in the Upper West Side. The building was named ‘The Dakota’ because not many people lived in the area, thus playing on the small population of the Dakotas. It is an architectural beauty, with gables and strong French and German influences. It became a National Historic Landmark in 1976.

Flatiron Building

Flat Iron building, New York, USA
| © Cultura Creative RF _ Alamy Stock Photo
The Flatiron Building was designed by Daniel Burnham, and is famous for its shape that makes it one of the most original and beautiful buildings in the city. It took its name from its similarity to a clothes iron, with the thinner end pointing uptown. It stands an impressive 20 stories tall, making it one of the tallest buildings of its time. The façade is designed like a Greek column with differences in the base and apex. In 1979, the Flatiron Building became a National Historic Landmark.

The Plaza Hotel

The Plaza
Courtesy of The Plaza /
Everything is luxurious at the Plaza Hotel, a building that has hotel rooms and luxury condominiums. Situated on Grand Army Plaza, people in Central Park have a beautiful view of the hotel, which opened on October 1, 1907. The building’s owners have changed many times over the years, and it is currently owned by the Indian company, Sahara India Pariwar. In 1986, it became a National Historic Landmark, thus making the Plaza and Waldorf-Astoria the only hotel landmarks in New York. The Plaza has beautiful gilded statues situated outside, including Abundance, a statue by Karl Bitter that depicts Roman goddess Pomona, and a sculpture of General Sherman.

The Apthorp

New York City The Apthorp Apartment House Building on the Upper West Side USA
© Sandra Baker _ Alamy Stock Photo
Completed in 1908, the Apthorp is designed in the style of the Italian Renaissance. Windows contrast with each other brilliantly, as some are arched and some are rectangular. It is currently a condominium complex, and the sections are divided A through D. In the center, there is a beautiful courtyard that viewers can admire to escape the urban jungle. Notable residents include Rosie O’Donnell and Cyndi Lauper.

The Woolworth Building

Woolworth building, Lower Manhattan
The Woolworth building was an early skyscraper that was the tallest in the world for 17 years | © Matej Kastelic / Alamy Stock Photo
In 1913, the tallest building in New York was completed, The Woolworth Building, and it remained the highest building in the world for 17 years. The building was designed by Cass Gilbert, and when completed it was 60 stories tall. It looks like a Gothic cathedral with a pyramid crown at the top. The main lobby of the building is covered in beautiful marble, spreading up the vaulted ceilings to stained glass windows. Take a glimpse inside to see mosaics and murals that are equally impressive.

Bryant Park Hotel

A room with white walls and curtains, a double bed and a TV seating area at the Bryant Park Hotel in New York City
Courtesy of Bryant Park Hotel / Expedia
The American Radiator Building, which eventually became Bryant Park Hotel, is a truly beautiful piece of architecture. It was constructed in 1924 under the designs of Raymond Hood and André Fouilhoux. The building was designed to represent coal, which explains the interesting colors: the black brick symbolizes coal, and the gold bricks represent fire. The luxury rooms in the hotel provide an amazing view of Bryant Park and the city.

San Remo

Close-up of the two towers of the San Remo building at twilight across Central Park, Upper West Side, Manhattan, New York City.
© Francois Roux _ Alamy Stock Photo
You can see this brilliant architectural icon from Central Park, and it is truly awing. The San Remo was designed by Emery Ross, and construction began in 1929. It was the first two-towered apartment complex in New York City, and the towers were designed in the style of English mansions, emphasizing the pure luxury of the San Remo. Though it is known as being more lenient and willing to rent to newly wealthy people (unlike some other apartment complexes that mainly cater to old-money individuals), it has also housed famous people, including Tiger Woods, Bruce Willis, and Bono.

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