Architecture and Design in New York

A celebration of the buildings of New York City and their history with over 600 color illustrations. Manhattan is studded with spectacular buildings—the Woolworth Building, the Flatiron, the Chrysler, the Empire State Building, and the World Trade towers. It is the home of scores of clubs, churches, commercial and industrial buildings, and private houses whose history or unique architecture make them especially noteworthy. With over 600 full-color photographs and descriptions of existing structures, New York for New Yorkers tracks the rich architectural history of the city as well as trends in style and construction to provide us with a better understanding of what we see, who built it, and why. And by explaining how monuments, streets, and districts were named, this book makes us more aware of the people who most influenced New York City’s past. Not just for New Yorkers, this book is for anyone who is fascinated by the architecture of the physical city.

The Landmarks of New York is a definitive resource book on the architectural history of the city, documenting and illustrating more than 1100 buildings that have been accorded landmark status over the past forty years.

Over 300 black and white photographs – buildings, architecture, architectural details, parks, street scenes, construction, art, sculpture, theaters, bridges, schools, church buildings and other subjects.


The Architecture of New York City: Histories and Views of Important Structures, Sites, and Symbols
by Donald Martin Reynolds

New York Architecture: A History (Universe Architecture Series)
by Richard Berenholtz (photographer), Amanda Johnson (author), Carol Willis (author)


Although old and out of print, these titles often by well-known authors in the field are still worth seeking out:

Broadway: From the Battery to the Bronx
by Carin Deschsler-Marx, Richard F. Shepard

The City Observed
by Paul Goldberger, photography by David W. Dunlap

Essential New York
John Tauranac

A house in the city; a guide to buying and renovating old row houses
by H. Dickson McKenna

“Architecture and Urbanism” Series

The five-volume series opened with a city embroiled in civil war and a century that ended with the tallest building barely living up to the name skyscraper. While the millennium seems like a convenient stopping point, the final chapter actually ended on Sept. 11, 2001.

Reading New York, Making No Little Plans, February 2007

Read the New York Times reviews of this monumental series:

New York 1880    New York 1900    New York 1930    New York 1960    New York 2000

World Trade Center

After September 11th, 2001, the Ground Zero site in New York City was classified as a crime scene and only those directly involved in the recovery efforts were allowed inside. The press was also prohibited from the site, but with the help of the Museum of the City of New York and sympathetic city officials, award-winning photographer Joel Meyerowitz managed to obtain unlimited access. By ingenuity and sheer determination, he was the only photographer granted unimpeded right of entry into Ground Zero.

For 9 months, during the day and night, Meyerowitz photographed “the pile,” as the World Trade Center came to be known, and the over 800 people a day that were working in it. Influenced by Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange’s work for the Farm Security Administration during the Great Depression, he knew that if he didn’t make a photographic record of the unprecedented recovery efforts, “there would be no history.”

This is not a book only about September 11; the towers’ collapse begins on number 236 of 337 pages of narrative text. New York Times reporters Glanz (science) and Lipton (metropolitan news) instead deliver a thoroughly absorbing account of how the World Trade Center developed from an embryonic 1939 World’s Fair building to “a city in the sky, the likes of which the planet had never seen”.

In this lively page-turner, intensively researched and meticulously documented, a world of international trade, business history, litigation, architecture, engineering and forensics comes clear…” — Publishers Weekly

The World Trade Center Remembered
by Sonja Bullaty, Paul Goldberger, Angelo Lomeo

New York September 11
by Magnum Photographers, David Halberstam (introduction)

Twin Towers Remembered
by Camilo Jose Vergara

Men of Steel: The Story of the Family That Built the World Trade Center
by Karl Koch III (author), Richard Firstman (contributor)

Up from Zero: Politics, Architecture, and the Rebuilding of New York
by Paul Goldberger

Renowned architecture critic Goldberger (Above New York) has undertaken the Herculean task of describing the three years of proposals, counterproposals, chaos and compromise that resulted in a plan for the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site. Unlike many post-9/11 books, this careful, detailed analysis is sure to remain a valuable reference work for future generations, who will wonder how the redevelopment took the shape it did. Goldberger provides a blow-by-blow, yet always readable, account of the myriad interest groups, meetings, press conferences, backroom negotiations and public forums that led to the selection of a plan for the site and designs for the Freedom Tower and memorial, “Reflecting Absence.” While displaying a deep understanding of history, urban planning, human psychology and power politics, Goldberger remains a largely neutral reporter of events. At the end, however, he mourns the lost opportunity to diverge from New York’s traditionally commercial approach to real estate development. He concludes, “What played out through 2002 and 2003 was the use of architecture for political ends, not the use of politics for architectural ends—that is the key moral of the story…. Idealism met cynicism at Ground Zero, and so far they have battled to a draw.” — Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.

Skyscrapers in New York


Empire: A Tale of Obsession, Betrayal, and the Battle for an American Icon
by Mitchell Pacelle

Each day over 4,000 people take the elevator up to the observatory of the Empire State Building to catch a minute of glory. What almost none of them have known–until now–is just how many people have fought to own outright the crown jewel beneath them, and the chaos that these trophy hunters have caused. “Over the years,” writes Wall Street Journal reporter Mitchell Pacelle, “the Empire State Building had exerted an almost magnetic pull over a certain kind of man, the kind who once had nothing and now had everything.” The construction of the Empire State Building was a $50 million roll of the dice by a failed political candidate, who took on the impossible task of filling 80 floors with paying tenants in the midst of the Depression just to win the race for skyline supremacy. Thirty years later, the Prudential Company gutted the building’s profit potential by leasing it to real estate magnates Larry Wien and Harry Helmsley for 114 years. Their heirs, Peter Milkin and Leona Helmsley, would end up locked in a bitter embrace. Then, in 1991, Prudential decided to sell the tower, and the building entered its most bizarre period as a group of eccentric billionaires fought to control it.

Ornament and Style


Beaux-Arts Architecture in New York: A Photographic Guide
by Margot Gayle (author), Edmund V. Gillon (photographer)

Art Deco in New York


Skyscraper Style: Art Deco New York
Skyscraper Style: Art Deco New York
by Cervin Robinson, Rosemarie Haag Bletter

Art Deco Skycraper in New York
The Art Deco Skyscraper in New York
by Norbert Messler

New York Deco
New York Deco
by Carla Breeze

Art Deco Architecture in New York 1920 – 1940
by Don Vlack

New York Art Deco Skyscrapers
by Katsuhiko (editor)

Residential Architecture

Where are those stunning prewar apartment homes? Those lovable bastions of the city good life. Center hall plans, proportioned rooms, big foyers, closets galore and just the kind of place you have to have the moment you walk through the front door. Here’s a drive-by tour of New York’s gracious prewar apartment homes. By neighborhood, from landmarks on Central Park West, to lesser known gems you can have, designed by architectural giants, such as Rosario Candela, J.E.R. Carpenter and Emery Roth. From West End Avenue to Park Avenue to the Village.


Luxury Apartment Houses of Manhattan: An Illustrated History
by Andrew Alpern

New York, New York: How the Apartment House Transformed the Life of the City (1869-1930)
by Elizabeth Hawes

Living it up : a guide to the named apartment houses of New York
by Thomas E. Norton, Jerry E. Patterson

Alone Together: A History of New York’s Early Apartments
by Elizabeth Collins Cromley

Public Housing That Worked: New York in the Twentieth Century
by Nicholas Dagen Bloom

Mansions in the Clouds: The Skyscraper Palazzi of Emery Roth
by Steven Ruttenbaum

A History of Housing in New York City
by Richard Plunz

New York City has been, and continues to be, a city of contrasts when it comes to housing: elegant mansions of merchant millionaires coexist with the squalid tenement slums of immigrant workers, and garden apartments coexist with high-rise apartment towers. In this revealing study, Plunz traces the history of housing in New York from 1850 to the present, examining the complex roles that city planning, real estate development, housing reform, building codes, contruction technology, and government policies–and politics–play in the process. Plunz shows how specific housing types developed over time and analyzes their successes and failures in meeting the diverse needs of their occupants. The book’s comprehensive scope and high degree of detail makes it recommended reading for anyone interested in housing. — H. Ward Jandl, National Park Service , Washington, D.C.

Prominent Architects in New York

Significant Buildings in New York

The Brooklyn Museum is the second largest art museum in New York City and among the largest in the United States. It is housed in a 560,000 square foot landmark Beaux-Arts building, set amid 19th century parks and gardens. The architects (McKim, Mead and White) envisioned it as the largest museum building in the world, but only one-sixth of their design was completed. This book traces its building in the years 1893-1927, and subsequent redevelopment and features many fascinating archival images and detailed views of the building’s lively decorative program, including the new entrance pavilion that makes this historic edifice a true building for the future.