Early Skyscrapers in New York City

19th Century


The rise of skyscrapers in New York City started around 1868 with the construction of buildings with more than six floors, equipped with hydraulic passenger elevators. Most of them were built by insurance companies, newspapers or hotels.

In 1868, the Grand Hotel was completed with six above-ground stories plus a two-story mansard roof. The Equitable Life Building was completed in 1870 with seven above-ground stories on Broadway. About 1873, the Old Mutual Life Building was completed, also with seven above-ground stories plus a clock tower. The eight-story Windsor Hotel opened in the same year. In 1875, the Tribune Building, was completed with nine floors. In the same year, the ten-story Western Union Telegraph Building, was completed.

In 1885, the 12-story Washington Building (One Broadway) was completed, an office building on the historic site of George Washington's headquarters in 1776. In 1889, the new 13-story NY Times Building was completed. Next to it is the 11-story Potter Building, completed earlier in 1886.

In 1890, The World Building, was completed in Park Row with 18 floors. In 1893, the Hotel Netherland was completed with 17 stories, claiming to be the tallest hotel in the world. In the following years, several high-rise hotels were erected in the City.

The Manhattan Life Building, completed in 1894, also with 18 floors, became the tallest building in New York City. In 1895, American Tract Society Building was completed with 23 floors. In 1899, the Park Row Building was completed with 29 floors high. It was the tallest building in New York City at the end of the 19th century.



Antique photos of NYC




American Tract building NYC



NY Early Skyscrapers



Gillender Building



NYC Skyscrapers


The Newspaper Row seen from City Hall Park (vintage post card, about 1897), a place of some of the early skyscrapers in New York City, like Tribune (1875), NY Times (1889), World Building (1890) and American Tract Society Building (1895).


Early Skyscrapers


New York Skyline images


Adelphi Hotel


Tribune building


NY Hotels


New York City 19th century


Manhattan Life Building


Grand Hotel


Old Mutual Life Building


Old Waldorf-Astoria


Tower Building


Below, early skyscrapers in New York City were built along Park Row and Broadway in the 1870s (fragment of a 1875 illustration by Charles Parsons and Lyman Atwater, with additional text).


NY Times building




Park Row images



Decker Building



Early Skyscrapers in New York City

19th Century


Saint Paul Building


World Building


Copyright © Geographic Guide - Antique photographs of NYC.


Washington Building




Equitable building old




Historic Buildings