Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
Tall Buildings in Numbers
New York: The Ultimate Skyscraper Laboratory
October 2015
Download the PDF Tall Buildings in Numbers
The recent skyscraper boom has been characterized by an increase in luxury residential construction, an increase in slenderness aspect ratios, and substantial construction in new locations away from Lower and Midtown Manhattan, in areas once considered “fringe,” such as Brooklyn, Queens and Jersey City. The research below examines the function and location of tall buildings over 100 meters, recently completed or under construction,3 in the New York City region4, with supertall buildings represented by larger dots.
Map of Skyscrapers in New York City Region © CTBUH (View interactive version)
A timeline of skyscraper completions in New York uncannily resembles the boom and bust cycles of the United States in the 20th and early 21st centuries. The most active year was 1931, when the final excesses of the Roaring ‘20s were thrown skywards and frozen in concrete and steel. The scarcity of building materials clearly had their effects in the flat World War II period. The rise of multinational corporations may explain the relative surge in skyscraper construction in the 1970s, even as New York City itself endured its darkest financial hours. Then come the wild “Wall Street” years of the 1980s, followed by the lagged effect of the early 1990s slump. The singular event of 9/11 did not have nearly the dampening effect on skyscraper construction, compared to the financial crisis of 2008-9. The current boom demonstrates New York’s persistence as a magnet for capital, and its standing as the ultimate skyscraper laboratory over time.
Timeline of Skyscrapers in New York City Region © CTBUH (View interactive version)
Study of 100 m+ buildings in the New York City region © CTBUH
  1. The focus on buildings over 100 meters is driven by the need to ensure accuracy of data, rather than suggesting that this is the threshold for a tall building.
  2. All tall building data is from the CTBUH Skyscraper Center as of August 2015.
  3. Graphics and statistics only include buildings complete or under construction, at the time of research (August 2015).
  4. All references to the “New York City region” includes all five boroughs – Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island, as well as Jersey City.
  5. All population data and land mass data is taken from the United States Census Bureau, 2010 Census.