Guide to New York City Historic Architecture

September 5, 2022


The first thing you think of when someone mentions NYC is diversity. This huge city is called a melting pot for a good reason. Blending so many different cultures has resulted in great cultural, social and even architectural diversity in the city. You can find so many different styles that developed throughout history. New York’s architecture is known for never-ending skyscrapers, but there’s so much more to it. This is a guide to New York City Historic Architecture, and all the buildings that led to the modern look of the Big Apple we know today.

Renaissance revival

A style that doesn’t seem to match with the modern buildings we have today – renaissance revival is quite a common thing to see in NYC. The inspiration for this part of NYC’s architecture comes from ancient times. From ancient Rome to Italy and France that were blooming during Renaissance, this architecture style lasted to the modern times and now presents one of the main items in NYC's historic architecture. The main features are expressive details and ornaments, arches, and free use of glass. There are several Renaissance Revival buildings in NYC, but some of the most popular ones include NYC World Building, Flatiron Building, The Continental, The Apthorp,26 Broadway, Park Place Tower and more. These iconic buildings are an essential part of New York, and surely the ones that catch a lot of attention from tourists.

Colonial buildings

The colonial power NYC had back in the day surely affected its architecture. Colonial and Neo-Colonial buildings remind us of Philadelphia or Boston and have a dose of a European feel to them. Most of the colonial buildings were made in about the 1700s, with main features such as brick or stone exterior, symmetry in size and shape as well as pitched roofs. The features slightly changed as the colonial style was revived several times over the years, but the main elements stayed until today. The most iconic buildings of colonial style you can find in NYC are 726 Madison Avenue right next to Central Park, St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery, as well as many properties in the historic Richmond Town and brick townhouses around NYC.

Gothic Revival

Another passion of NYC architects was the Gothic period, and those buildings are easily noticeable among the modern skyscrapers we see today. Their pointed arches on doors and windows, roof gables and so many decorative details truly stand out in modern NYC streets. These one-of-a-kind details stand proudly next to modern sleek lines skyscrapers have. Their beauty and uniqueness are catching the eye of passers-by since the 18th century. Where to find Gothic Revival buildings in NYC. Well, be sure to visit the St. Patrick’s Cathedral on 5th Avenue, as well as the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the fifth largest church in the world. The list continues – Woolworth building, Belvedere Castle, Tudor City, Trinity Church – Gothic Revival is all over the city.

Neoclassical architecture

Neoclassical style, often related to Greek Revival, has all the main features of ancient Greek temples. Even though there are slight differences between these two, both Neoclassical and Greek Revival architecture style focus on antique simplicity, grand scale volumes, Doric Greek details and dramatic columns. Even though these are not something we see in today’s modern architecture in NYC, you can easily locate these buildings throughout the city. Check out the Brooklyn Bridge Hall, Federal Hall but also 14 Wall Street, originally known as the Bankers Trust Company building. Apart from famous buildings, there are many residential buildings across the city. These are often very impressive buildings and mansions in exclusive locations in NYC. Relocation to one of these places can be a challenge if you don’t know the city well. That’s why you can rely on professionals to help you out with NYC relocation and make it a breeze.

Art Deco

Probably one of the most popular buildings was made in Art Deco architecture style. Chrysler Building, Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center – all of these are the most iconic examples of Art Deco in New York City's historic architecture. This movement flourished right before WWII, in the 1920s and 1930s. The name comes from French, short for Art Décoratifs and celebrates the quality of machine-making, simplicity and symmetry. Art Deco was the style of many iconic buildings in the city, but also theatres department stores and finally, residential properties.

Art Nouveau

Another term that originates from France, Art Nouveau gained its popularity in the 20th century. The inspiration comes from nature, plants, leaves and flowers which results in detailed architecture with a lot of curves and decorative details. Some of the most famous Art Nouveau buildings are Decker Building, New York Evening Post Building, and Soho gems such as Little Singer Building and New Era Building.

Moving to NYC?

Exploring NYC's historic architecture will surely make you fall in love with this iconic city, so you may decide to make it your new home. However, many people dread making this decision, due to the complexity of the moving process and all the effort it takes to make it work. Even though it can be challenging, proper planning and prioritizing safety will make this move as smooth as possible.

Firstly, make sure you’ve got all it takes to rent or buy a home in NYC. New York's real estate market is quite competitive, and the place is known for its high housing prices. Furthermore, find someone to rely on during the move. Verified Movers suggest checking multiple sources when looking for a moving team. Ask people you know for recommendations, browse trustworthy online databases and read reviews about the selected moving companies. Safety should be a top priority when moving to NYC, as well as getting professional moving services at reasonable prices.

Finally, explore the city before you relocate so you can pick the neighbourhood that fits your lifestyle the best. NYC offers so many different options – be sure to pick the one that will ensure you enjoy this new life chapter in one of the best cities in the world.


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