2. The American Radiator Building, now the Bryant Park Hotel

The American Radiator Building, now the Bryant Park Hotel.
The exterior of the American Radiator Building, now the Bryant Park Hotel.

With its lavender-tinted windows, towering gold-crowned facade, and domed entranceway, the Bryant Park Hotel — originally the American Radiator Building — looks like it might belong in a fairytale or a nightmare. In 1924, architect Raymond Hood, who was also involved in Rockefeller Center and the New York Daily News building, designed the building that contains some elements of the neo-Gothic tradition, lined with leering gargoyles and twisted spires. The building’s vertical windows are distinctly modern, and its dark black facade, interrupted by brilliant gold trimming, lodges it firmly in the Art Deco world. Designed to represent the product that it was created to house — a radiator —the building has been compared to glowing coal, especially when illuminated by floodlights at night.

The American Radiator Building originally served as a large public showroom for radiators, boilers, and other new inventions of the time. Its black brickwork gives it an imposing, looming presence that makes it seem larger than life. Golden carvings of dragons, dolphins, and other creatures add to its otherworldly aura. Today it serves as a luxury hotel and hosts a bar and a movie theatre in its basement.