6. 17 State Street

At first it seems less flamboyant than the usual fare but 17 State Street has a larger theme. Facing the harbor, the building’s take advantage of the curved building site, offering views from every floor from reflective glass, creating an iconclast Jetsons-like, space age lighthouse compared to its neighbors. At the very top, there’s a small tower projecting a light beam.

Ultimately, Kaufman’s building received mixed reviews from architectural critics though Paul Goldberger of The New York Times called it his most daring building yet. Some saw the additions as kitschy ornamentation while others appreciated a lighthearted whimsy. 

Kaufman died in 2012 at the age of 87. We can only hope that New York City may find another developer who is willing to put it all out there for those elements of surprise in everyday life.

Next, check out NYC’s Holdouts, Buildings that Stood in the Way of Development.