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Real Estate

Urban Wonders: Unveiling Manhattan’s Architectural Marvels and Unique Designs

New York is famous for many reasons. But perhaps one of its most notable and sometimes muted attributes is its beautiful architecture. Combining the old, the reimagined, and the new, New York is home to one of the most unique architectural landscapes in the world, and nowhere is this more prominently on display than in Manhattan. Many buildings in this vibrant borough are standout nods to their eras, covering over three centuries. Here is a look at some designs that define Manhattan.


Colonial-style buildings were built between 1600 and 1800 or were built to look that way. These traditional structures feature heavy European influences and are reminiscent of New York’s colonial history. Today, many Colonials can be found in lower Manhattan and feature symmetrical designs, pitched roofs, and wood, brick, or stone classing. The style underwent several revivals, most notably in the 1930s and 1870s, giving way to the Neo-Colonial style. Over the years, Colonial has also evolved into different iterations, including French Colonial, Cape Cod, Federalist, and Georgian. 726 Madison Avenue, designed by Morrell Smith, is a popular building in this style.

Art Deco

Every Manhattan real estate agent worth their salt will show you at least one Art Deco property in Manhattan because this is the most iconic style in New York. You may realize it from iconic buildings like the Rockefeller Center, Chrysler Building, and Empire State Building. Drawing inspiration from the Roaring 20s, the Art Deco style features bold and exuberant combinations of industrial craft, historical allusion, and geometric motifs. Properties in this design often use showy and sleek materials like glass block, stainless steel, plastic, chrome plating, and colorful stone.

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Neoclassical/Greek Revival

The Neoclassical style is a revival of ancient Rome and Greece’s classical motifs and structures. Buildings in this style are known for their characteristic temple-like columns that scream drama and heavily regimented geometries. With a focus on proportion and size, the structures are mostly commercial and civic buildings, but it is not uncommon to see a Neoclassical townhouse or mansion in Gramercy or the Upper East Side. Popular examples are Federal Hall and 14 Wall Street.

Gothic Revival

Gothic Revival made its way to New York in the mid-19th century thanks to the Romantic Movement. As architects rebelled against mass production and machinery, they leaned toward medieval influences. This is why Gothic Revival buildings like Belvedere Castle, Tudor City, and Trinity Church feature the characteristic pointed arches, turrets, dormers, gables, and complex tracery in brick or stone.


High-Tech was born of architects fetishizing tech innovation. Beginning at the apex of modernism, this style became the perfect expression of New York’s futuristic leanings. The 59-story Citigroup Center is one of the style’s best ambassadors, with its mammoth upper mass, metal, sheer glass façade, and chevron bracing system. Other notable examples include Hearst Tower and Citigroup Center.

Discuss Architectural Styles with a NYC Agent

Noble Black has been selling Manhattan property for years. With over $3 billion in sales, you can trust that Black will steer you right as you search for the perfect Manhattan home for you. His award-winning ability and familiarity with the area means he is more than comfortable with the many architectural styles in Manhattan and can help you explore your options. Call him today to get started.