New York City – Skyscrapers, Museums, and Green Spaces

New York City is known as “the city that never sleeps”, and with over 8 million residents and over 40 million visitors a year, it’s easy to understand how this bustling city got its nickname.

This story was created for the Google Expeditions project by ePublishing Partners and AirPano, now available on Google Arts & Culture

On this Expedition, you’ll explore some of the city’s most iconic skyscrapers, museums, and parks. 

New York skyline, Photographer: Tim Benton, 2001, From the collection of: Royal Institute of British Architects
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At first glance, visitors can’t help but notice the city’s skyscrapers, each housing businesses, restaurants, shops, or residences. But there’s more to New York City than tall buildings. It’s also a city of culture, art, and recreation. Nestled among the city’s skyscrapers are over 80 museums. Look more closely in spring and summer, and you’ll see many areas of green—parks where people can relax, exercise, or catch an outdoor performance.

Lower Manhattan, New York City

New York City is divided into five boroughs, or districts—the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. This is the lower end of Manhattan, edged by the Hudson and East Rivers. 

Note the numerous piers along the river. The area is active with boats and ferries that transport goods and people to New York’s mainland and New Jersey, which is located across the Hudson.

Battery Park

Named after the “battery” of cannons erected by Dutch settlers in 1623, Battery Park offers many unique features including a meditation labyrinth, SeaGlass Carousel, and Castle Garden.  In 1855, Castle Garden served as the United States’ first immigrant receiving center.  

One World Trade Center

Built in 2014 next to the World Trade Center Memorial, this 1,776-foot tall commercial skyscraper was designed by architect David Childs to be safe and environmentally responsible. The building’s footprint is identical to the original Twin Towers. 

The Woolworth Building

When this 792-foot tall skyscraper was finished in 1913, it was the tallest building in the world. Its tower is topped with an iconic, elaborate Gothic-style roof. Frank W. Woolworth paid $13.5 million in cash for the building’s construction. 


While some people reach Manhattan by ferry, many more travel in cars, crossing the East or Hudson River along the way. Here you see the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge, both of which cross the Hudson River. 

Middle-upper Manhattan Island

Each of New York City’s boroughs includes numerous distinct neighborhoods, each with its own name.  Many neighborhoods have parks. The city’s largest park– Central Park – is nestled between the Upper West Side and the Upper East Side, two of Manhattan’s neighborhoods.

Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and architect Calvert Vax in 1858, Central Park spans 843 acres.

Marcus Garvey Park

Equipped with two playgrounds, a pool, and an amphitheater, this park has provided the community with a green gathering space for fun and relaxation for over 150 years. In 1973, it was named after the civil rights activist Marcus Garvey. 

East Harlem

One of the city’s most ethnically-diverse neighborhoods, East Harlem is steeped with immigrant history. In the 1800s, it was home to Italian immigrants. The mid-1900s brought an influx of Puerto Ricans. The area’s music, art, and cuisine reflect its diversity.  

Museum of the City of New York

Founded in 1923 by Henry Collins Brown, this museum features materials such as letters and photographs that reflect the city’s diverse and rich history. Originally located in Gracie Mansion, the museum moved to its present-day spot in 1932. 

Central Park North

Central Park’s northern end provides a wide variety of ways for people to unwind and enjoy the outdoors all year round. There’s Lasker Rink and Pool, North Woods, the man-made lake Harlem Meer, and numerous playgrounds, gardens, and trails. 

Upper East and West Sides

This view of the city was taken from above the center of Central Park. The park appears as a green oasis hemmed in by granite and concrete. The long avenues on either side of the park are lined with luxury apartment buildings, both old and new.

Direct views of the park can add zeros to the price of a condo in one of these buildings.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

In 1943, architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed this museum for Solomon R. Guggenheim to showcase his extensive art collection. The museum’s design was groundbreaking. The building is circular and art is displayed on the walls along a long, spiraling ramp. 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Met was founded in 1870. Its collections feature over 5,000 years of art from cultures around the globe. The Gothic-Revival style structure you see here is The Met Fifth Avenue. 

Empire State Building

When completed in 1931, this iconic 1,250-foot tall skyscraper was the world’s tallest building and brought a great sense of pride and hope to the city. More importantly, construction employed at least 3,400 men a day during the Depression.

Central Park South

Central Park’s southern end offers many opportunities for fun and relaxation, such as Wollman Rink, Hallett Nature Sanctuary, and numerous basketball courts, playgrounds, and walking and biking paths. The Central Park Zoo is also located here, adjacent to 5th Avenue. 

American Museum of Natural History

Founded in 1869, this museum comprises 25 connected buildings and covers 4 blocks. Its 32 million artifacts and specimens are displayed in rotation in over 40 exhibition halls. The museum is well known for its creative exhibitions and lifelike dioramas.  

Along and Across the East River

Here’s a bird’s-eye view from atop the Queensboro Bridge, which connects Long Island City, Queens, with the neighborhood of Sutton Place in Manhattan.

The bridge crosses the East River, a feature of the topography that drew Native Americans to this spot thousands of years ago, and that helped to make New York City a major commercial and trading center in modern times.

Queensboro Bridge

Also known as the 59th Street Bridge, this cantilever Queensboro Bridge extends across the East River, connecting Manhattan, Roosevelt Island, and Queens. After its completion in 1908, the bridge helped transform rural Queens into a highly populated borough.  

Twenty-Four Sycamores Park, Manhattan

In 1943, the Parks Commissioner noted that this neighborhood offered little recreational space for its residents. Soon after, a parcel of once underwater land owned by the Standard Oil Company was transferred to the city, and the park was built. 

United Nations Headquarters

Built in 1952, this 509-foot skyscraper is part of an 18-acre complex in Manhattan’s Turtle Bay neighborhood. The building and complex are not officially part of the United States, but comprise “international territory” owned by UN members.  

The Chrysler Building

This 1,048-foot tall skyscraper was designed by William Van Alen and completed in 1930. It took over 3,800,000 bricks, 29,000 tons of steel, and $20,000,000 to construct. The repeating crescent-shaped steps on the spire reflect the Art Deco style.  

Sunset on the Hudson River

As the sun sets, long shadows of several New Jersey skyscrapers stretch across the Hudson and touch Manhattan’s waterline. This vantage point gives you a clear view of Governors Island, the smaller Ellis Island, and even smaller Statue of Liberty National Monument.

Broadway and Wall Street—two of the city’s most famous streets—and the building housing the New York Stock Exchange are hidden within the cluster of skyscrapers toward the far left.  

Governors Island

Governors Island is located 800 yards from lower Manhattan, not far from both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. What once served as a U.S. military base is now an entire island dedicated to recreation, art, and outdoor performances.  

World Trade Center Memorial

The World Trade Center Memorial honors the nearly 3,000 victims of the terrorist attacks of February 26, 1993 and September 11, 2001. Two pools are located where the Twin Towers once stood. Parapets inscribed with the victims’ names surround the pools. 

South Cove Park

South Cove Park offers visitors a unique seaside experience. Walkways wind through the upper and lower levels of the park, and a curved jetty lined with benches allows visitors to enjoy the river. 

Dusk in the City

At dusk, boat activity on the Hudson quiets down, but Midtown Manhattan comes alive in a new way: bright and colorful billboards illuminate the busy streets, skyscrapers glow, and electric marquees advertise the latest shows.

Lights keeps the parks safe and encourage people to use the parks even as the sun goes down. All New York City parks officially close at 1:00 a.m.

Bank of America Tower

Built in 2009, the 1,200-foot tall Bank of America Tower ranks as one of the most environmentally friendly skyscrapers in the world. Eco-friendly features include a water reclamation system and a “green roof” that uses compost from the building’s cafeteria. 

Times Square Tower

The726-foot Times Square Tower may not be the city’s tallest building, but it’s one of the most looked at. At night, numerous billboards on the building’s exterior light up and help create the iconic setting of Times Square.  

One Worldwide Plaza

Completed in 1989, this 778-foot tall commercial and residential skyscraper stands where the third Madison Square Garden was once located. Its large roof-top pyramid sets it apart from surrounding skyscrapers, but is invisible to people looking up from sidewalks below. 

Central Park

Manhattan is home to over 72,000 people per square mile. This is why many people consider Central Park, with its open expanses and freedom from congestion, to be of vital importance to the health and well-being of the city’s residents. 

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