Landmarks in New York City – 13 Most Famous

Many of New York’s most famous landmarks, buildings, and parks are recognized all over the globe, as is the city’s frenetic pace, which gave rise to the name “New York minute.”

There are five boroughs that make up New York City, and they are located at the point where the Hudson River and the Atlantic Ocean meet.

Manhattan, one of the most densely inhabited boroughs in the city, is considered to be one of the most important commercial, financial, and cultural hubs in the whole globe.

Skyscrapers such as the Empire State Building and the enormous Central Park, as well as the neon-lit Times Square, are among the city’s most recognizable places.

For such a relatively young city New York is one of the most famous in the world and it is littered with many famous landmarks built during it’s brief 400 year history.

Famous Landmarks in New York

1. Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty

One of the most well-known statues in the world stands as a symbol of liberty and independence in what was once the most populous port city on the eastern seaboard of the United States.

In 1886, the Statue of Liberty was erected on what is now known as Liberty Island, located just off the coast of New York City.

It was a monument constructed by France and the United States, and its primary goal was to serve as a symbol of hope for anybody entering the United States from a once-popular immigration center.

Also Read: Statues in New York

The statue’s official name is Liberty Enlightening the World, although it is often known as the ‘Statue of Liberty’ today.

It rises 151 feet and one inch tall and overlooks the Atlantic Ocean in a location where tens of thousands of immigrants from Europe and other areas of the globe entered the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The monument was sculpted by French artist Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, while Gustave Eiffel, who is best renowned for constructing the Eiffel Tower in France, oversaw the construction of the edifice. On a pedestal, Lady Liberty is shown holding a torch in one hand and a tablet in the other.

2. Empire State Building

Empire State building Manhattan New York City

New York City’s Empire State Building is a 102-story Art Deco skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan. The structure was designed by Shreve, Lamb & Harmon and constructed between 1930 and 1931.

Its name is inspired from the state of New York’s nickname, “Empire State.” The structure, with its antenna, has a roof height of 1,250 feet (380 meters) and a total height of 1,454 feet (443.2 meters).

The Empire State Structure was the highest building in the world until the World Trade Center was constructed in 1970; after the World Trade Center’s fall in 2001, the Empire State Building resumed its position as the city’s tallest skyscraper until it was surpassed in 2012.

The building is the seventh-tallest in New York City, the ninth-tallest finished skyscraper in the United States, the 54th-tallest in the world, and the sixth-tallest freestanding structure in the Americas, as of 2022.

In 1893, the Waldorf–Astoria Hotel was constructed on the location of the Empire State Building in Midtown South on the west side of Fifth Avenue between West 33rd and 34th Streets. Empire State Inc. purchased the property in 1929 and designed plans build a skyscraper there.

The building opened on May 1, 1931, fourteen and a half months after construction began on March 17, 1930. Due to the Great Depression and World War II, the building’s owners did not turn a profit until the early 1950s, despite the excellent publicity surrounding its construction.

It has become a famous attraction because to its Art Deco style, height, and viewing decks. Four million people yearly visit the building’s 86th and 102nd-level observatories; a new indoor observatory on the 80th floor debuted in 2019.

3. The Metropolitan Museum

Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, often referred to as “the Met,” is one of the largest art museums in the world.

Its permanent collection, which is divided into seventeen curatorial departments, consists of about two million objects. The main building, situated at 1000 Fifth Avenue on the eastern side of Central Park on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, is one of the largest art museums in the world in terms of square footage.

The Cloisters at Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, a far smaller second site, has an extensive collection of medieval European art, architecture, and artifacts.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded in 1870 with the intention of providing art and art instruction to the American people.

Also Read: Museums in New York

The museum’s permanent collection consists of works of art from classical antiquity and ancient Egypt, paintings and sculptures by almost all European masters, and a substantial collection of American and contemporary art.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art features extensive collections of art from Africa, Asia, Oceania, Byzantium, and Islam. The museum features large collections of musical instruments, apparel, and accessories, along with historical weapons and armor from all around the world.

In its galleries, notable interiors from 1st-century Rome to contemporary American design are shown.

On February 20, 1872, the Fifth Avenue building at 681 Fifth Avenue initially opened its doors.

4. Central Park

Central Park, Manhattan, New York City

Central Park is an urban park between the Upper West and Upper East Sides of Manhattan in New York City.

It is the city’s sixth biggest park, with 843 acres (341 ha). It is the most frequently visited urban park in the United States, with an estimated 42 million visits per year as of 2016, and the most often shot area.

After plans for a huge park in Manhattan throughout the 1840s, the 778-acre park was established in 1853. (315 ha).

The “Greensward Plan” by landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux won a design competition for the park in 1857. Existing buildings, notably the majority-Black community of Seneca Village, were confiscated and demolished the same year construction started.

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Late in 1858, the first park sections were offered to the public. In 1859, more property was acquired at the northern end of Central Park, and the park was finished in 1876.

In the 1930s, after a period of deterioration in the early 20th century, Robert Moses, the parks commissioner of New York City, initiated a campaign to clean up Central Park. Beginning in the 1980s, the Central Park Conservancy, which was founded in 1980 to prevent additional degradation in the late 20th century, renovated a significant portion of the park.

Principal attractions include landscapes such as the Ramble and Lake, Hallett Nature Sanctuary, the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, and Sheep Meadow; amusement attractions like Wollman Rink, the Central Park Carousel, and the Central Park Zoo; formal spaces like the Central Park Mall and Bethesda Terrace; and the Delacorte Theater.

Numerous types of flora and wildlife inhabit the ecologically varied environment. Carriage-horse and bicycle trips, biking, sports facilities, and concerts and events such as Shakespeare in the Park are recreational activities. Central Park is crossed by a network of roadways, walkways, and public transit.

Its vastness and cultural significance make it a model for urban parks across the globe. Its impact earned Central Park the National Historic Landmark and New York City scenic landmark titles in 1963 and 1974, respectively.

Central Park is owned by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, but since 1998 it has been administered by the Central Park Conservancy under a public–private partnership contract with the city government. The Conservancy, a non-profit organization, generates funds for the yearly operation budget and basic maintenance of Central Park.

5. The Museum of Modern Art

Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is an art museum located in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, on 53rd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.

It is generally considered as one of the largest and most prestigious museums of contemporary art in the world, and it plays an important role in the collecting and development of modern art.

MoMA’s collection consists of architecture and design, drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, prints, illustrated books and artist’s books, film, and electronic media.

The MoMA Library has approximately 300,000 books and exhibition catalogs, over 1,000 magazine titles, and over 40,000 artist and organization-specific ephemera files.

The archives include original sources on the history of current and modern art.

With nearly 150,000 unique objects, 22,000 films, and 4 million film stills, MoMA’s holdings are widely regarded as the world’s best collection of modern Western classics.

MoMA, a private non-profit organization, with an annual income of around $145 million, making it the seventh-largest museum in the United States in terms of revenue (none of which is profit). In 2011, the museum’s net assets were little under $1 billion (essentially, a sum of all the resources it has on its books less the value of the art).

6. Solomon R. Guggenheim

Solomon R Guggenheim

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, sometimes known as The Guggenheim, is an art museum situated on Manhattan’s Upper East Side at 1071 Fifth Avenue and East 89th Street.

In addition to its permanent collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, early Modern, and contemporary art, the museum features special shows throughout the year.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation established the Museum of Non-Objective Painting in 1939, with Hilla von Rebay as its first director. It was given its current name in 1952, three years after the death of its creator, Solomon R. Guggenheim.

In 1959, the museum moved from rented premises to its current building, a notable work of 20th-century architecture designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

The building, which is cylindrical and wider at the top than at the bottom, was intended to be a “temple of the spirit.” Its one-of-a-kind ramp gallery climbs from the ground in a long, continuous spiral around the building’s outside walls and terminates just under the ceiling skylight.

In addition to 2005 to 2008, when an adjacent tower was constructed in 1992, the building underwent significant expansion and renovation.

Beginning with Solomon R. Guggenheim’s private collection, the museum’s collection has grown substantially over the course of eight decades.

The collection is shared with Bilbao, Spain, and other sister museums. Each year, over 1,200,000 visitors visit the museum.

7. Times Square

New York Times Square

Times Square is a significant business crossroads, tourist attraction, entertainment hub, and New York City neighborhood located in Midtown Manhattan.

This intersection is created by Broadway, Seventh Avenue, and 42nd Street. Times Square, along with nearby Duffy Square, is a five-block-long bowtie-shaped area between 42nd and 47th Streets.

It is one of the busiest pedestrian locations in the world, as well as the core of the Broadway Theater District and a key hub of the global entertainment industry.

Times Square is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, attracting an estimated 50 million people yearly. On its peak days, more over 460,000 pedestrians traverse Times Square. Approximately 330,000 people pass through Times Square everyday, the majority of them are tourists.

Longacre Square was renamed Times Square in 1904 when The New York Times relocated its offices to the then-new Times Building, now One Times Square.

Times Square is the location of the annual New Year’s Eve ball drop, which started on December 31, 1907 and continues to draw over one million people annually.

Times Square, notably the junction of Broadway and 42nd Street, is also the eastern end of the Lincoln Highway, the nation’s first transcontinental highway.

8. Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge Manhattan New York

The Brooklyn Bridge is a hybrid cable-stayed/suspension bridge in New York City, connecting the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn over the East River.

The Brooklyn Bridge was the first permanent bridge of the East River when it opened on May 24, 1883. At the time of its inauguration, it was also the longest suspension bridge in the world, with a main span of 1,595.5 feet (486.3 m) and a deck 127 feet (38.7 m) above mean high water.

Originally known as the New York and Brooklyn Bridge or the East River Bridge, the structure was renamed the Brooklyn Bridge in 1915.

The Brooklyn Bridge is the most southern of the four toll-free vehicle bridges between Manhattan Island and Long Island, the others being the Manhattan Bridge, the Williamsburg Bridge, and the Queensboro Bridge. Only passenger cars, pedestrians, and cyclists are allowed.

Since its inauguration, the Brooklyn Bridge has been a prominent tourist destination and a New York City landmark. The bridge has been the site of countless stunts and performances, as well as a number of crimes and assaults, throughout the years.

The Brooklyn Bridge has been classified as both a National Historic Landmark, a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark and one of the greatest Landmarks of New York.

9. American Museum of Natural History

American Museum of Natural History

The American Museum of Natural History (abbreviated AMNH) is a museum of natural history situated on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Located across the street from Central Park in Theodore Roosevelt Park, the museum complex consists of 26 interconnected buildings with 45 permanent display rooms, as well as a planetarium and a library.

The museum’s collections include approximately 34 million plant, animal, fossil, mineral, rock, meteorite, human remains, and human cultural objects, as well as specialized collections for frozen tissue and genetic and astrophysical data, of which only a minuscule portion can be displayed at any given time.

The museum is more than 2 million square feet in size (190,000 m2). The American Museum of Natural History employs 225 full-time scientists, sponsors over 120 special field excursions annually, and attracts around five million visitors annually.

The American Museum of Natural History is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Its mission is to “discover, comprehend, and disseminate knowledge about human civilizations, the natural world, and the cosmos via scientific research and teaching.”

10. One World Trade Center

One World Trade Center

One World Trade Center is the primary structure of the restored World Trade Center complex in New York City’s Lower Manhattan.

One World Trade Center is the highest structure in the United States, the tallest structure in the Western Hemisphere, and the eighth tallest structure in the world.

The supertall tower has the same name as the North Tower of the first World Trade Center, which was demolished in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

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The new tower is located on the northwest corner of the 16-acre (6.5 hectare) World Trade Center site, where the old 6 World Trade Center formerly stood.

It is surrounded on the west by West Street, on the north by Vesey Street, on the south by Fulton Street, and on the east by Washington Street.

11. Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

The Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum is a military and maritime history exhibition in New York City with a fleet of museum ships.

It is located along the Hudson River at Pier 86 at 46th Street in the Hell’s Kitchen area on Manhattan’s West Side.

The museum houses the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid, the cruise missile submarine USS Growler, a Concorde SST, a Lockheed A-12 supersonic reconnaissance plane, and the Space Shuttle Enterprise. On the lower deck, there is also a reproduction of a World War I biplane.

The museum, which established in 1982, closed for a 1.5-year renovation of Intrepid and facilities in 2006. Among these were new exhibits. The museum opens to the public on November 8, 2008.

In addition, the museum serves as a venue for local and national events. The museum’s docked cruise ship Norwegian Getaway was turned into the “Bud Light Hotel” during the 2013 MLB All-Star Weekend and the 2014 Super Bowl XLVIII.

12. Flatiron Building

Flatiron Building

The Flatiron Structure, formerly known as the Fuller Building, is a triangular 22-story, 285-foot-tall (86.9 m) steel-framed landmarked building situated at 175 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan’s namesake Flatiron District area.

It was one of the highest buildings in the city when it was completed in 1902, with 20 storeys, and one of only two “skyscrapers” north of 14th Street—the other being the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower, one block east.

Fifth Avenue, Broadway, and East 22nd Street create a triangular block, with East 23rd Street brushing the triangle’s northern (uptown) apex. The term “Flatiron,” like many other wedge-shaped structures, comes from its similarity to a cast-iron clothes iron.

The structure, which has been described as “one of the world’s most recognizable buildings and a fundamental emblem of New York City,” anchors the south (downtown) end of Madison Square and the north (uptown) end of the Ladies’ Mile Historic District.

The Flatiron District, named for its distinctive, famous structure, surrounds it. In 1966, the building was declared a New York City landmark; in 1979, it was placed to the National Register of Historic Places; and in 1989, it was designated a National Historic Landmark.

13. Radio City Music Hall

Radio City Music Hall

Radio City Music Hall is an entertainment facility and theater located at 1260 Avenue of the Americas inside Rockefeller Center in New York City’s Midtown Manhattan area.

It is the headquarters of the Rockettes, a precision dance group, and is known as “the Showplace of the Nation.” Edward Durell Stone and Donald Deskey created Radio City Music Hall in the Art Deco style.

Radio City Music Hall was erected on a parcel of land that was initially planned for a Metropolitan Opera House, which was canceled in 1929. It debuted on December 27, 1932, as part of the Rockefeller Center building.

The 5,960-seat Music Hall was the bigger of two venues erected for Rockefeller Center’s “Radio City” sector, the other being Center Theatre; the moniker “Radio City” was eventually limited to the Music Hall.

It was mostly successful until the 1970s, when falling attendance almost pushed the theater out of business. In May 1978, Radio City Music Hall was named a New York City Landmark, and it was renovated and permitted to continue open. In 1999, the theater underwent substantial renovations.