We spotted this awesome collage of the Manhattan skyline on the Facebook page New York Off Road. The skyline photos start in 1876, six years after the beginning of construction on the Brooklyn Bridge. You can see one of the masonry foundations (the very one where a nuclear bomb shelter was built inside during the Cold War!) is completed by 1876.
By 1932, New York City in the midst of its skyscraper boom, having held the title of the World’s Tallest Building in the World since 1890. It will continue to hold the distinction until 1974, and you can see some of the world’s tallest buildings in New York City in the 1932 photograph, including the now demolished Singer Building, the Woolworth Building and 40 Wall Street.
You can also spot the Manhattan Municipal Building, just behind the Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge whose construction began in 1901, the set-back, ziggurat shaped 120 Wall Street along the FDR Drive (originally the headquarters of the American Sugar Refining Company).
By 1988, the skyline of lower Manhattan has densified considerably, including the addition of the World Trade Center towers, the Verizon building (now the tallest high rise data center in the world). You can also see the Alfred E. Smith public houses and the LaGuardia Houses on the waterfront between the two bridges.
The 2013 downtown skyline looks similar to 1988 apart from the missing WTC towers. 1 WTC has been drawn onto this particularly image but it has already reached its maximum height of construction and deemed the tallest building in the United States.
Take an Untapped Cities exclusive tour of the world’s tallest buildings in New York City with our history editor, Benjamin Waldman on April 27th at 2pm. The tour concludes with a cocktail at the historic Fraunces Tavern.
Read more about New York City’s skyscrapers in our behind the scenes look into the construction at 1 WTC, a roundup of the World’s Tallest Buildings in NYC and how tall buildings game the rankings system. Collage skyline originally found on New York City: If You Can Make it Here, You Can Make it Anywhere.