To say the New York City skyline is famous almost comically understates the case. Is there a more storied, more photographed or more resonant skyline in the world? Paris’s vertical grandeur resides in one skeletal, albeit beautiful, structure (oui, the Eiffel Tower). And forget Kuala Lumpur—way over in Malaysia—with its overreaching glitter twins. Toronto’s CN Tower-spiked and crowding skyline gets a nod as a radical up-and-comer. But for sheer complexity, density, and variety of architectural styles—and that iconic, deeply impressed sweep of its skyline—New York is still unsurpassed by any city in the world, and we may wait a long time before it is. But viewing New York City from afar is one thing. Getting up close to its fabulous buildings is a defining experience.

You can, of course, start just about anywhere, say The Empire State Building, which looks spiffy after an expensive renovation. But assuming you have visited it and typical tourist attractions like the Chrysler Building or the United Nations Headquarters, take a gander at a few of New York City’s lesser known architectural masterpieces, one-offs and oddities.

For starters, the somewhat familiar Flatiron Building (once known as the Fuller Building) always delights the eye. Upon its completion in 1902 it was one of the tallest buildings in New York. It sits on a triangular island block at 23rd Street, between Fifth Avenue and Broadway, hence its lean, sky-wedging shape.

In sharp contrast, Apple’s Glass Cube Store on Fifth Avenue, between 58th and 59th Streets, or its market hall on the Upper West Side, have become 21st Century trendsetters, boasting a transparent and technologically advanced retail space that may look like the future (i.e. it’s already here). Famously fussy and attentive to every detail to anything bearing the Apple logo, Steve Jobs had a hand in this sleek gem.

The New York Times Building on Eighth Avenue (between 40th and 41st Streets) will take your breath away from all angles, and the glass facets of the Hearst Magazine Building on Eighth Avenue and 57th Street will force on your sunglasses. Eli Jacques Kahn’s Bricken Textile Building on Broadway and 41st Street has been compared to a Vionnet gown. And the IAC Building on 555 West 18th Street resembles a billowing white sail, Frank Gehry-style.

Two other must-sees include the Rose Center for Earth and Space on 81st Street (just west of Central Park West). It sits serenely screened by trees and features the most technologically advanced space theater in the world. And the Folk Art Museum may be one of the quietly coolest buildings in NYC. Located at 45W 53rd Street, this very small museum isn’t well known even among New Yorkers. What it lacks in size it makes up for in design. A melted copper façade aptly represents the rough-hewn folk art inside.

Love stunning skyscrapers? Stay at these luxurious towers,

The Empire State building has some competition! Setai New York has debuted on Fifth Avenue, near Penn Station. The Setai Fifth Avenue is sculptural lines and a modern aesthetic, combined with an Asian-inspired simplicity that brings out the “Zen” in guests. At the 5 star Setai NYC, guests are moments from world-class shopping on Fifth Avenue, which hosts retailers ranging from Macy’s to Tiffany’s, and everything in between. Enjoy a complimentary upgrade when booking a Premier Room or Studio Suite if staying between Jun. 29th and Sept. 2, 2012

To experience the bygone era of 30s and 40s grace and gentility, visit The Pierre New York. The gilt and understated chandeliers remain, but the entire hotel has received a facelift, effortlessly gliding into the 21st century. Towering over Central Park, the Pierre New York’s coveted location places guests amidst the shops on 5th Avenue. Central Park is across the street, and Museum Mile is only a few blocks north.

Trendy SoHo; known for its quirky galleries, upscale boutiques, and– skyscrapers? Since the Trump SoHo arrived, absolutely! The 5 star Trump SoHo Hotel is 46 stories of pure pampering, towering above the SoHo neighborhood. Guests will love the incredible vista views that are standard in guestrooms, as well as the incredible spa located on site.


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