New York City’s’s Skyscraper Museum, an architectural museum in downtown Battery Park City, showcases New York City’s diverse and historic architecture, from their conception, construction, and beyond. Now, the museum has unveiled a new exhibit that focuses on the evolution of the New York City skyline. This new exhibit, appropriately called SKYLINE, examines the history of New York’s now famous skyline, from its humble beginnings of ten-story office buildings in the 1870’s, up to today’s spectacular skyline, recognizable around the world. SKYLINE looks at nearly 150 years of architectural history, and even imagines a future skyline full of sleek and slender skyscrapers. The exhibit uses photographs, postcards, and to-scale-models to bring their vision to life.

The museum has graciously provided us the fun sliders below, where you can slide to see a skyline of a particular year. Organized into five periods, the exhibit looks first at 1876-1900, which saw the construction of ten-story office buildings. In 1900-1916, building size increased to 14-18 stories high, and the iconic Flatiron Building (1902) was constructed. In the third period, which went from 1916-the 1960’s, towers were a bit slimmer, and a lot taller – 50-71 stories high. No longer simple block buildings, a lot of skyscrapers became pyramid-shaped, such as the Chrysler Building (1928) and the Empire State Building (1931). At the time, architects in the city were competing to build the tallest skyscraper, which the Empire State Building won.

The fourth period of the exhibit overlaps with its fifth, and focuses on the sleek new skyscraper style introduced in 1961. The new skyscrapers looked like glass rectangles, with non-operable reflective windows illuminated by lights. The final era focused on the skyline from 1961-2000, with an emphasis on the Twin Towers, once the tallest buildings in the world until they fell in the 2001 September 11th terrorist attacks. Today, a rebuilt One World Trade Center stands in their place, in remembrance and tribute to the original Towers and many lives claimed by the 2001 attack. Opened in 2014, it stands 1,776 feet tall – the same year as the signing of America’s Declaration of Independence.

Photo courtesy Skyscraper Museum

To see for yourself the powerful history of New York’s skyline, head over the the Skyscraper Museum. The museum is open from Wednesday to Sunday, 12-6PM. Tickets cost $5 for general admission, $2.50 for students, and free for seniors and children under 12. The SKYLINE exhibit is on view through January 2019.

Next, check out the TWA Lounge Inside 1 WTC.