Beautiful New York

A Celebration of the City

The Top 100 Greatest NYC Buildings — #39

Plaza Hotel

Architect: Henry J. Hardenbergh
Style: French Revival
Use: Hotel
Opened: 1907
Borough: Manhattan

Featuring one of the grandest mansard roofs in the city, this French Renaissance masterpiece has had many lives under many owners but has always been synonymous with luxury, elegance, and good taste. There is no more coveted table for an English-style tea time than under the stained glass ceiling of the Palm Court. Truman Capote’s famous Black-and-White Ball at the Plaza was the apex of the city’s social calendar for the entire latter half of the 20th century. More than 60 movies have been set at the Plaza, from North By Northwest to American Hustle. Though its greatest cultural reference is surely Eloise, the beloved children’s book series by Kay Thompson.

The Top 100 Greatest NYC Buildings — #40

Waldorf Astoria Hotel

Architect: Schultze & Weaver
Style: Art Deco
Use: Hotel
Opened: 1931
Borough: Manhattan

Now the crown jewel in the Hilton hotel chain, this Park Avenue institution was moved from Fifth Avenue, where William Waldorf Astor established it, to make way for the Empire State Building. Its grand residential towers have served as home to Judy Garland, Herbert Hoover, John F. Kennedy, Douglas MacArthur, Marilyn Monroe, and Bugsy Siegel. Dishes said to have been invented in the hotel’s legendary restaurants include the eponymous Waldorf Salad, Thousand Island dressing, and the Rob Roy cocktail. A week after the hotel closed for a 3-year renovation, the LPC designated its interior spaces New York City Landmarks to prevent alteration during the renovations.

It Happened Today in New York City

On August 17, 1667, Colonel Sir Francis Lovelace was appointed second governor of the New York province, succeeding Richard Nicolls. Though it would take time for Lovelace to assume full control, he got right to work, fortifying the city, and organizing the militia. But his greatest contribution was the purchase of Staten Island from the natives. In spite of his military prowess, Lovelace lost the colony back to the Dutch in 1673 and returned to England in disgrace. The Dutch continued to hold New York until the Treaty of Westminster in 1674.


Radio Tower

Congratulations to Marc for getting the correct answer first!


In 1967, a small private airplane crashed into what kind of structure on High Island?

The Top 100 Greatest NYC Buildings — #41

Bronx Zoo Center

Architect: Heins & La Farge
Style: Renaissance Revival
Use: Visitor Center
Opened: 1908
Borough: The Bronx

Almost Byzentine in its stylistic whimsy, this former elephant house was not only the home to the largest of pachyderms, but also rhinos, camels, and hippos, before being rededicated to smaller animals and a visitor information center. Part of the climax of the City Beautiful Movement, its high dome and Guastavino tile are appropriate accoutrements for such regal beasts. It became a New York City Landmark in 2000.

The Top 100 Greatest NYC Buildings — #42

Lever House

Architect: Gordon Bunshaft
Style: Modern
Use: Offices
Opened: 1952
Borough: Manhattan

Declared a New York City Landmark as soon as it was eligible in 1982, this graceful glass curtain building is an exercise in development forbearance in a metropolis mad for real estate. Rather than occupying its full lot and adhering to the consequent setback laws, its innovative T-shape leaves views of its neighbors and angles from which to enjoy its reflective properties. The gardens and public art spaces on its plazas also delight its tenants and visitors alike. While other far less interesting buildings have sought to copy Lever House, its elegant simplicity has never been matched.

The Top 100 Greatest NYC Buildings — #43

Prospect Park Boathouse

Architect: Helmle & Huberty
Style: Beaux Arts
Use: Education
Opened: 1904
Borough: Brooklyn

On the eastern end of Prospect Park’s Lullwater of the Lake, this iron lamped confection was designed by protégés of McKim, Meade, and White, whose style it strongly resembles. With a terra cotta exterior and gorgeous Guastavino tiles inside, it now houses the Audubon Center which hosts learning programs there focusing on the many natural elements of the park. It is also frequently rented out for weddings and other formal events. Brooklyn poet Marianne Moore was one of many who campaigned for the building to be declared a New York City Landmark, which it became in 1968.

The Top 100 Greatest NYC Buildings — #44

Belvedere Castle

Architect: Calvert Vaux
Style: Gothic Revival
Use: Visitor Center
Opened: 1869
Borough: Manhattan

Originally used as a weather-watching center, this granite-clad Manhattan schist castle is now a visitor center, staffed by the Central Park Conservancy. Standing atop Vista Rock, the second highest natural elevation in the park, the castle provides magnificent views of Turtle Pond, the Great Lawn, the Delacorte Theatre, and the skylines on all sides of the park. It has appeared in movies from The Bostonians to The Smurfs and in TV shows from Naked City to Sesame Street.


Linden Boulevard

Congratulations to Marie France Lefebvre for getting the correct answer first!