TEN & TALLER examines the history of early high-rises in New York City in the last quarter of the 19th century. The project surveys ALL the buildings ten stories or taller erected in Manhattan in the years 1874 through 1900. To provide multiple perspectives on this group of 253 buildings – in particular, their use, height, and spatial geography – we created three interfaces: a GRID, a MAP; and a TIMELINE.

The origin of this project is a comprehensive database created by the structural engineer and historian Donald Friedman. The principal purpose of his survey was to distinguish the structural systems employed in early high-rise construction and to chart the change in technology from masonry to metal-frame construction. In free time over more than a decade, Friedman scoured 19th-century engineering and architecture journals and Department of Building records to compile a complete inventory of all the tallest buildings in New York, as well as in all other American cities, including Chicago. Long described in many textbooks as the “birthplace of the skyscraper,” the “Second City” could boast only 78 buildings taller than ten stories by 1900. Further, Chicago’s fame as the leader in the invention of steel skeleton construction is compared and contested by Friedman’s study of the more multiple and hybrid approaches of structure practiced in New York, where architects and engineers were encouraged by local economics or constrained by codes to use more conservative structural approaches.

What was the first skyscraper? There’s no simple answer to this oft-asked question, and any response related to height must be understood in terms of context, both of a building’s neighbors and of its historical moment. Ten stories was very tall in the 1870s and 1880s, but less so in 1900. Our GRID begins in 1874 with the Tribune and Western Union Buildings, which at 260 and 230 feet to their tips remained in the top ten of the city’s tallest buildings in 1890 and surpassed all Chicago skyscrapers of that same period. Our TIMELINE charts vertical height, as well as cycles of construction by graphing the height of all 253 buildings of Friedman’s study. It also color codes to distinguish use: offices, residential, lofts, and miscellaneous others.

As the GRID reveals, however, the great majority of buildings were blocky structures capped with cornices that emphasize the horizontal. Most people would call these buildings high-rises, not skyscrapers. The idea that a skyscraper is tall and slender and makes a silhouette against the sky is embedded in the term, which was in fact was coined in the 1880s.

To identify a building in the grid, click on a tile to open a pop-up window of images and data. Use the three drop-down menus to display or filter existing or demolished* structures and to sort by use and neighborhood. Combined filtering is also possible: e.g. Existing Office Buildings in Lower Manhattan. *Demolished buildings include those heavily modified. IDs for the image credits are posted here.

  Existing / Demolished:      Use:      Neighborhood:

Tribune Building 1874 154 Printing House Square Richard Morris Hunt Western Union I 195 Broadway, corner of Dey Street George Post Evening Post Building 202-208 Broadway Charles Mengleson / George Hathorne / Thomas Stent Morse Building 140 Nassau Street, corner of Beekman Street Silliman & Farnsworth Schepp Building 165-169 Duane Street, 47-53 Hudson Street Stephen Hatch Washington Building 1 Broadway, corner Battery Place Edward Kendall The Hawthorne 126-130 West 59th Street Hubert, Pirsson & Co Central Park Apartments / Spanish Flats 150-180 West 59th Street and 145-175 West 58th Street Hubert, Pirsson & Hoddick
Mills Building 35 Wall, 11-21 Broad, 35 Exchange Place George Post Temple Court 3-9 Beekman Street Silliman & Farnsworth Hubert Home Club 121 Madison Avenue Hubert, Pirsson & Co and Ernest Flagg The Gramercy 34 Gramercy Park East George Da Cuhna Welles Building 14-20 Broadway, 5-7 Beaver Street W. Pell Anderson The Sonoma 1722 Broadway, NE corner 55th Street Thom & Wilson Berkshire Apartments 500 Madison Avenue, NW corner 52nd Street Carl Pfeiffer Produce Exchange 2 Broadway George Post The Dakota 1 West 72nd Street Henry Hardenburgh Knickerbocker Apartments 243-249 Fifth Avenue SE corner 28th Street Charles W. Clinton designer, Ernest Flagg developer
Hoffman Arms 640 Madison Ave, 21 East 59th Street Charles Romeyn & Co. Chelsea Hotel 222 West 23rd Street Hubert, Pirsson & Co The Osborne 205 West 57th Street, 902 Seventh Avenue James E. Ware Potter Building 38 Park Row, corner Beekman Street Norris G. Starkweather Standard Oil Building I 24-28 Broadway E. L. Roberts & J. M. Farnsworth Aldrich Court 41-45 Broadway Youngs & Cable New York Times II 41 Park Row George Post Gerlach Hotel / Radio Wave Building 49-55 West 27th Street Augustus Hatfield Tower Building 50 Broadway Bradford Lee Gilbert Western Electric 121-127 Greenwich and 20-22 Thames Streets Cyrus Eidlitz
Wilks Building I 15-21 Wall Street, corner of Broad Street Charles W. Clinton Central Railroad of New Jersey 139 Liberty Street, between Washington Street and West Street Peabody & Stearns Pulitzer Building / World Building 53-63 Park Row, corner Frankfort Street George Post London and Lancashire 25 Pine Street J. C. Cady & Co. Union Trust Company Building 78-82 Broadway, 3-7 New Street George Post Theodore Cohnfeld Building 92-96 Bleecker Street, 199-205 Mercer St. Alfred Zucker Rouss Building I 549-553 Broadway; 120-124 Mercer Alfred Zucker Farmers' Loan and Trust Company of New York 16-22 William Street, NE corner Beaver Street Charles W. Clinton United Edison Buildings 42-44 Broad Street, 38-40 New Street Carrère & Hastings American Express / Austin, Nichols & Co. 55-61 Hudson Street, SW corner Jay Street Edwards & Kendall Columbia Building 29 Broadway, NW corner Morris Street Youngs & Cable Healy Building / Hide and Leather Bank Building 88-90 Gold Street, NE corner Ferry Street W. B. Tubby Western Union II 8-12 Dey Street Henry Hardenburgh Stokes Building 45-49 Cedar Street Charles W. Clinton Jackson Building 31 East 17th St (Union Sq N), 36 E 18th St William H. Birkmire Hotel Savoy I 767 5th Avenue, SE corner 59th Street Ralph Townsend McIntyre Building 874 Broadway, corner 18th Street R. H. Robertson Mail and Express Building 203 Broadway and 164-168 Fulton Street Carrère & Hastings Holland House 274-280 5th Ave, corner 30th Street Harding & Gooch Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad Building 26 Exchange Place, corner of William Street L. C. Holden Metropolitan Life Insurance 1 Madison Avenue Napoleon LeBrun & Sons Bennett Building 93 Nassau Street corner of Fulton Street Hotel Sevilla / Central Park Mews 117 West 58th Street Hubert, Pirsson & Hoddick Havemeyer Building I 25-33 Church Street, between Cortland and Dey Streets George Post Manhattan Life Insurance 64-66 Broadway Francis Kimball and George Thompson Hotel Netherland 769 5th Ave, NE corner 59th Street William Hume Postal Telegraph Cable Company 251-255 Broadway Harding & Gooch Home Life Insurance 256 Broadway Napoleon LeBrun & Sons Decker Building 33 Union Square WestJohn Edelmann, designer; Alfred Zucker architect of record Waldorf Hotel 336-340 5th Avenue Henry Hardenburgh Mutual Life Building 32-34 Nassau Street,  28-36 Liberty Street Charles W. Clinton The Gerard / Langwell Hotel / Hotel 123 123-129 W 44th Street George Keister Scott & Bowne Building 409-415 Pearl Street, SW corner Rose Street William Schickel & Co. J. Monroe Taylor Building 39-41 Cortlandt Street Oswald Wirz Kuhn, Loeb Bank I 27-29 Pine Street De Lemos & Cordes Continental Fire Insurance 44-48 Cedar Street Charles W. Clinton Morris Building 64-68 Broad Street, 31 Beaver Street Youngs & Cable Manice Building 46 Pine Street, 55 William Street Jardine, Kent  & Jardine Beresford Hotel II 219 Central Park West, (SW corner 82nd Street Theodore B. Thomson Rhinelander Building 2 Duane Street, SW corner Rose Street William H. Russell Metropolitan Realty Building 220 William Street (facing Brooklyn Bridge) W. Wheeler Smith Hanover Fire Insurance 34-34½ Pine Street A. B. Jennings Fulton Building 87 Nassau Street, 130-136 Fulton Street De Lemos & Cordes Vanderbilt Building II 15-19 Beekman Street McKim Mead & White Corn Exchange Bank Building 13 William Street, NW corner Beaver Street R. H. Robertson Mutual Reserve Fund Life Association / Langdon Building 305 Broadway, NW corner Duane Street William H. Hume Lawyers' Title Insurance Company 44-1/2 and 46 Maiden Lane, 37-39 Liberty Street Charles Haight Wallace Building 56-58 Pine Street, 26-28 Cedar Street Oscar Wirz Hotel Majestic 115 Central Park West, corner 71st Street Jacob Rothschild, assisted by Reeves and Livingston Diamond Exchange / Hays Building 14 Maiden Lane George A. Schellenger Carnegie Hall II 161-169 West 56th Street William Tuthill / Henry J. Hardenbergh Sheldon Building 68 Nassau Street, 34 John Street Charles W. Clinton NYU Main Building 100 Washington Square East between Washington Place and Waverly Place Alfred Zucker Buckingham Hotel II 615 Fifth Avenue Richter Building 627-629 Broadway, 196-198 Mercer Louis Korn Sachs Brothers 119-121 West 23rd Street and 112-114 West 24th Street William Schickel & Co. Metropolitan Life Annex 24th Street, S side, 150' E of Madison Avenue Napoleon LeBrun and Sons Fahys Building 54 Maiden Lane, 29-31 Liberty Street Clinton & Russell New York Commercial Buildings 715-725 Broadway between Washington Place and Waverly Place Robert Maynicke Boskowitz Building 704-706 Broadway De Lemos & Cordes The Ardea I 33 West 12th Street John B. Snook & Sons American Surety I 100-106 Broadway, 1-1½  Pine Street Bruce Price New York Life I Elm Street between Leonard Street and Catherine Lane Stephen D. Hatch, completed by McKim, Mead & White American Tract Society 144-152 Nassau Street, 6 Spruce Street R. H. Robertson John Wolfe Building 66 Maiden Lane, corner William Street Henry Hardenburgh The Presbyterian Building 154-158 5th Avenue, NW corner 20th Street Rowe & Baker Arnold Constable Building 109-111 5th Avenue, NE corner 18th Street William Schickel & Co. 710 Broadway Cleverdon & Putzel Wilks Building II / Prescott Building 69 Nassau Street, 28 John Street Clinton & Russell National Shoe and Leather Bank 271 Broadway (SW corner Chambers) J. C. Cady & Co. Downing Building 106-108 Fulton Street, 14 Dutch Street J. M. Farnsworth Fidelity and Casualty Company 97-99 Cedar Street Cyrus Eidlitz 733-735 Broadway Buchman & Deisler Rhinelander Building II 232-238 William Street, SE corner Duane Street Clinton & Russell Bowling Green Building 5-11 Broadway, 5-11 Greenwich Street W. and G. Audsley  with H. M. Hunt Lord's Court 25-29 William Street, 36- 40 Exchange Place John Townsend Williams German-American Building / Provident Life Building / Syndicate Building 33 Nassau Street, SW corner Liberty Street Lamb & Rich Hotel Manhattan I 316-332  Madison Avenue, NE corner 42nd Street Henry Hardenburgh Gerken Building 90 West Broadway Harding & Gooch Hoffman House II 1119 Broadway, SW corner 25th Street Hotel Imperial II 1242 Broadway McKim, Mead & White Everard Storage Warehouse / Shephard Warehouse 277 West 10th Street, 667-675 Washington Street Martin V.B. Ferdon Silk Exchange 487 Broadway, 443-449 Broome Street, 60 Mercer Street Buchman & Deisler American Thread Building / Wool Exchange 260 West Broadway William. B. Tubby 707-709 Broadway, 270-274 Mercer Street John T. Williams San Remo Hotel Annex 143 Central Park West, NW Corner 74th Street Thom & Wilson Lorsch Building 37-39 Maiden Lane Louis Korn Kennelly Building 7 Pine StreetHerman Kreitler Baudouine Building 1179-1181 Broadway, SW corner 28th Street Alfred Zucker Hartford Building 24-30 East 17th Street and 41 Union Square West, SW corner Broadway Youngs & Bergerson Revillon Building 13-15 West 28th Street Barney & Chapman 532-534 Broadway Ralph Townsend 714 Broadway Buchman & Dreisler Beard Building / Foundation Building 120-122 Liberty Street, 123-125 Cedar Street Oswald Wirz Bancroft Building / Van Ingen Building / Marble Collegiate Building 3-7 West 29th Street Robertson & Manning 78 Fifth Avenue Albert Wagner Haggin Building 377-379 Broadway, corner White Street John T. Williams 708 Broadway Cleverdon & Putzel James Pyle & Sons I 534-536 Washington Street, NW corner Charlton Street Thomas Jackson Carnegie Hall III 154-156 West 57th Street William Tuthill / Henry J. Hardenbergh St. Paul Building 220 Broadway, corner Ann Street George Post Central National Bank 320-322 Broadway, NE corner Pearl Street John Williams and William Brikmire National Bank of Commerce 31 Nassau Street, NW corner Cedar Street James B. Baker Commercial Cable Company 20-22 Broad Street; 20-20½ New Street Harding & Gooch Queen Insurance Company 67-69 William Street, 43 Cedar Street, NW corner Harding & Gooch; with Thomas Rowe associate architect Astoria Hotel 342-350 5th Avenue Henry Hardenburgh Havemeyer Building II 568-578 Broadway George Post Weld Building / Sprague Building 817-819 Broadway, SW corner 12th Street George Post Coe Estate Building 636-638 Broadway, 170-172 Crosby Street George Post Mills House #1 160 Bleecker Street Ernest Flagg Johnston Building 30-36 Broad Street, 64 Exchange Place James B. Baker Gillender Bulding / Manhattan Trust Company 1-3 Nassau Street, NW corner Wall Street Berg & Clark Gill Building / New York Realty Company / Jeweler's Building 9-13 Maiden Lane Ralph Townsend Townsend Building 1121-1127 Broadway, 9 West 25th Street Cyrus Eidlitz American Lithograph Building / Gramercy Court 224-230 Fourth Avenue, SW corner 19th Street Richard Berger architect; Edward Lindsey consulting architect Astor Building 585-587 Broadway; 156-158 Mercer Street Cleverdon & Putzel Woodbridge Building 100 William Street between John Street and Platt Street Clinton & Russell Hotel Royalton 44-46 West 44th Street, 47-49 West 43rd Street Rossiter & Wright 491-493 Broadway, 444 Broome Street Buchman & Deisler Metropolitan Telephone 13-17 Dey Street Cyrus Eidlitz Globe Storage Warehouse 303-307 East 61st Street Van Antwerp & Brick Graham Building 192 Church Street, NW corner Duane Street Clinton & Russell La Rochelle 329 Columbus Avenue, NE corner 75th Street Lamb & Rich 830 Broadway Cleverdon & Putzel 832-834 Broadway Ralph Townsend 39-41 West 3rd Street, 48-52 West 4th Street, east side of Wooster Street Alfred Zucker Baumann Building 260-266 West 36th Street Albert Wagner 37-41 East 18th Street Mortimer Merritt 625 Broadway David King Decourcy Building 570-576 West Broadway Hill & Turner Ashton Hotel 1306-1312 Madison Avenue, 26-28 East 93rd Street G. W. Spitzer Korn Building 736 Broadway Louis Korn 141-143 Fifth Avenue Robert Maynicke 584 Broadway Buchman & Deisler Dun Building 290-294 Broadway Harding & Gooch Federal Archives / Appraiser’s Warehouse 666 Greenwich Street Willoughby Edbrooke and W. Martin Aikin Exchange Court 52-56 Broadway, 33-39 New Street, 80 Exchange Place Clinton & Russell Empire Building 71 Broadway Kimball & Thompson St. James Building 1133 Broadway, corner 26th Street Bruce Price Washington Life Building 141-145 Broadway, SW corner Liberty Street Cyrus Eidlitz Singer Building I 149 Broadway, NW Corner Liberty Street Ernest Flagg Sherry's Hotel 524-528 5th Ave, NW corner 44th Street McKim, Mead & White Sampson Building 63-65 Wall Street Clinton & Russell Morton Building 110-116 Nassau Street, 45 Ann Street Clinton & Russell Cushman Building / William Barthman Building 174 Broadway, 1 Maiden Lane C. P. H. Gilbert Hudson Building 32-36 Broadway Clinton & Russell with A. F. Leicht as associate architect New York Life Insurance Company Annex / Transportation Board 30-32 Elm Street (49 Lafayette Street), SE corner Leonard Street Babb, Cook & Willard Franklin Building 7-15 Murray Street Clinton & Russell William Matheson Building 155 John Street George Chappell Mills House II 12-18 Rivington Street, corner of Christie Street Ernest Flagg and W. B. Chambrs McCready Building / Sohmer Building 170 Fifth Avenue, SW corner 22nd Street Robert Maynicke White Building 95-97 Liberty Street Ralph Townsend Anderson Building 12-16 John Street Ralph Townsend and James J. Campbell Western Electric Sections A-D 455-465 West Street, 55-77 Bethune Street Cyrus Eidlitz Lyons Building 592-596 Broadway, 124-130 Crosby Street Buchman & Deisler 598 Broadway, 132 Crosby Robert Maynicke 530 Broadway, NE corner Spring Street Brunner & Tryon Chesebrough Building 13-18 State Street, SE corner Pearl Street Clinton & Russell 580 Broadway Buchman & Deisler New York Life II 346 Broadway, SE corner Leonard Street McKim, Mead & White 135 Fifth Avenue, NE corner 20th Street David King The Warwick Arms 101 West 80th Street, NW corner Columbus Avenue Henry Corn 142 Fifth Ave, 3-5 West 19th Street Robert Maynicke Chanler Building 298 Broadway McKim, Mead & White Hotel Martinique I 54-58 West 33rd Street Henry Hardenburgh Hotel Pierrepont / Hotel Strand / Hotel Stanford 43-47 West 32nd Street Ralph Townsend Park Row Building 13-21 Park Row, 13 Ann Street R. H. Robertson Bayard Building / Condict Building 65-69 Bleecker Street Louis Sullivan with Lyndon P. Smith Bourne Building / Singer Building II 85-89 Liberty Street Ernest Flagg Herald Square Hotel 116-120 West 34th Street Ralph Townsend Vincent Building 302 Broadway, SE corner Duane Street George Post 84 Broadway, 3-7 Wall Street, 1 New Street William Wheeler Smith Standard Oil Building II 24-26 Broadway Kimball & Thompson Jones Building 5-13 Elm Street, 54-58 Duane Street Albert Wagner 145-147 Fifth Avenue, SE corner 21st Street H. Edwards Ficken 296 Broadway Jordan & Giller Commercial Building 396-398 Broadway, SE corner Walker Street William Birkmire 413 Washington Street, 74-76 Laight Street Thomas Jackson Connick 244 Fifth Avenue Robert Maynicke Savoy Trust Company 520-522 Broadway Buchman & Fox Rouss Building II 555 Broadway William Dilthey The Ormonde 2022-2030 Broadway, SE corner of 70th Street Robert Maynicke Broadway Chambers Building 277 Broadway, NW corner Chambers Street Cass Gilbert North American Trust Company / Title Insurance Company / International Banking and Trust Co. 135-137 Broadway, corner of Cedar Street Bruce Price 395-399 Broadway, 61-69 Walker Street Robert Maynicke 729-731 Broadway, NW corner Waverly Place The Swannanoa 105 East 15th Street Gilbert A. Schellinger American Exchange National Bank Building 128 Broadway Clinton & Russell 632-634 Broadway, 166 Crosby Street Robert Maynicke The Orleans 100 West 80th Street, SW corner Columbus Avenue Buchman and Deisler The Lorraine 539-545 Fifth Avenue, 2-4 East 45th Street J. O’Rourke & Sons Hamilton Building 103 East 125th Street C. P. H. Gilbert  Annin Building / Houghton Mifflin Building 85 Fifth Ave, NE corner 16th Street Louis Korn Importers Building 239-245 Church Street, 66-70 Leonard Street Henry Hardenburgh Textile Workers Union of America 97-99 University Place, 34 East 12th Street William Hazlett The Barnard 106-110 Central Park West, SW corner 71st Street Alonzo B. Kight Hotel Navarre 512 Seventh Avenue SW corner 38th Street Barney & Chapman Hotel Iroquois 49-53 West 44th Street Mulliken & Moeller Hotel Manhattan II 326-328 Madison Avenue, SW corner 43rd Street Henry Hardenburgh Corn Exchange Bank 140 Fifth Avenue, SW corner 19th Street Robert Maynicke Asch Building 245 Greene Street, NW corner Washington Place John Wolley Parker Building 231-233 Fourth Avenue, SE Corner 19th Street William Birkmire 34 East 10th Street Frederick C. Browne 122-124 Fifth, 3-7 West 17th, 2 West 18th Robert Maynicke Spinning Wheel 3-7 West 22nd Street J. B. Baker Ardsley Hall 320 Central Park West, SW corner 92nd Street George Keister Battery Park 21-24 State Street, 1-3-5 Pearl Street, 2-4-6 Bridge Street 21-24 state street, 1-3-5 pearl street, 2-4-6 bridge street Clinton & Russell Hotel Essex 572-574 Madison Avenue, NW corner 56th Street Howard, Cauldwell, and Morgan 840 Broadway Robert Maynicke Atlantic Building / Atlantic Mutual 49-51 Wall Street, 37-39 William Street, SW corner Clinton & Russell Yale Club / Penn Club 30 West 44th Street Tracy & Swartout