To paraphrase the late Douglas Adams, the American Museum of Natural History is big. Mind-bogglingly big. The museum complex comprises 45 permanent exhibition halls housed in 28 interconnected buildings, as well as a library and the Rose Centre for Earth and Space. The total floor-space is over 190,000 sq. m (2 million sq. ft) which can nevertheless display only a fraction of the museum’s 33 million specimens at any one time.
As much a part of the New York landscape as yellow cabs and the Empire State Building, the seemingly antiquated water towers are still very much in use, needed to maintain water pressure in buildings of more than six storeys. Most are made from wood, and they are cheap and easy to install. They have a lifespan of 30 – 35 years before needing to be replaced.
The High Line is a 2.33 km (1.45 mile) section of a former elevated railroad on the West Side of Manhattan. Declining usage led to the railroad closing in 1980 and the viaduct was abandoned thereafter. In the years that followed, it was colonised by wild vegetation. In 2006, work began to re-purpose the railroad into an urban park, and the first phase opened in 2009. A second phase opened in 2011, followed by a third in 2014. A short stub above Tenth Avenue and 30th Street will open by 2018. The park runs from Gansevoort Street – three blocks below 14th Street, in the Meatpacking District – through Chelsea to the northern edge of the West Side Yard on 34th Street near the Javits Center.
For almost forty years, the 443.2 m (1,454 ft) tall 102-storey Empire State Building was the tallest building in the world before being surpassed by the twin towers of the World Trade Center. It regained the title of New York’s tallest building after 9/11, but by this time it was only the second tallest building in America after the Sears Tower in Chicago (now the Willis Tower). The rebuilding of the Word Trade Center and the construction of 432 Park Avenue have since relegated the Empire State Building to third place in New York; worldwide the many large buildings constructed during the first two decades of the twenty-first century have pushed it down to a world ranking of 40.
The Empire State Building nevertheless remains an icon: as synonymous with New York as Tower Bridge is with London or the Eiffel Tower with Paris.
Completed in May 1931, the 318.9 m (1,046 ft) Chrysler Building held the title of the tallest building in the world for just under a year before being surpassed by the 380 m (1,250 ft) Empire State Building. Architecturally, however, its Art Deco style makes its taller companion look plain in comparison. Although it served as the corporate headquarters of the car manufacturer until the 1950s, it was built and owned by the company’s founder, Walter Chrysler. Ownership passed to Chrysler’s family after his death in 1940, and the building was sold on in 1953. It has since changed hands on a number of occasions.
Built between 1903 and 1913, Grand Central Terminal is the largest railway station in the world by number of platforms. The 19 ha (48 acres) site’s 44 platforms are all located underground on two levels, serving 41 tracks on the upper level and 26 on the lower.
Its eateries and shops, as well as its distinctive architecture, have made Grand Central Terminal into a major tourist attraction as well as a railway station. In 2013, it attracted 21,900,000 non-travelling visitors.