See New York's Stunning Architecture With A Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
Since being settled in 1694 and its rapid expansion in the centuries following, New York City has accrued a number of noteworthy pieces of architecture. As a cultural center and thriving economic hub, New York City became a place where the best artists of the medium came to exhibit the best of their work. If you're sightseeing in New York make sure to Hop-Off your tour bus and take a closer look at these massive works of art. It remains a fascinating aspect of NYC life that this artistic presence is actually an integrated component of the city itself. New York's office buildings, train stations, and courthouses are both regularly utilized aspects of city life while also constituting memorable and notable instances of high architectural achievement. Whether you're a casual sightseer or a student of the medium, make sure to hop-off the tour bus and take a look at the art! Many visitors coming to tour New York arrive not by bus but train, which means its likely that they arrived in Grand Central, located on East 42nd Street (Actually within sight of the office of this writer!) The sprawling central terminal in Grand Central is an iconic space since its appearance in dozens of famous movies. Briefly, the Terminal has been seen in The Avengers, The Taking Of Pelham 123, Midnight Run, Superman, Carlito's Way, North By Northwest, and dozens of other recognizable titles! The Terminal itself has become a famous New York sightseeing attraction. Sightseers can stay on their hop-on hop-off bus as it passes the famous exterior facade, or deboard to explore the massive terminal itself. The exterior of the building features an intricate display of sculptures and ornate design. The chief sculpture set prominently on top of the main entrance to the concourse features Hercules, Minerva, and Mercury in a collection entitled "Glory of Commerce". In the middle of these figures is set a clock with a thirteen foot wide diameter which faces forty second street. At forty eight feet high, the collection is considered the largest sculptural group in the world, an essential sight for any fan of architecture and design. The clock is known as the largest display of Tiffany Glass, an extremely prestigious form of glass design. This whole edifice faces forty second street, where sightseers on a hop-on hop-off tour bus can get a great look at the collection. The ceiling of the main concourse is also an essential attraction for any New York sightseer. Considered by many to be "The Sistine Chapel of New York", the ceiling displays elaborate illustrations of constellations and astronomy. The astronomical layout of the ceiling is technically and complexy incorrect. While many of the constellations are rendered exactly as they would appear from earth, certain constellations are arranged reversed or inversed. The mistakes were first noticed in 1913 by a commuter, and any tourist with a sharp eye for astronomy should certainly try their knowledge on the mistakes in the Grand Central ceiling. Another essential sight on any New York bus tour is the distinct architecture of the Flatiron building, located on Fifth Avenue and East Twenty Second Street. The building is an important stop on our Downtown Tour, which rides down Fifth Avenue on its way to the Financial District. When it was completed in 1902 it was the tallest building in New York City, now surpassed by many other structures. The triangular point of the building is formed by Fifth Avenue and Broadway intersecting, while the base is supplied by East Twenty Second Street. The building has been called, "one of the world's most iconic skyscrapers and a quintessential symbol of New York City", making it an indispensable stop on any Hop-On Hop-Off tour. The tip of the triangle houses the most sought-after offices in the building, and some of the most in the whole city. These offices are larger than the others in the building and include beautiful views of the Downtown Broadway area, the Empire State Building, and Madison Square Park. The design of the Flatiron Building has become an iconic New York symbol, attracting hundreds of thousands of sightseers every year. The building features many internal quirks as a result of its unconventional triangular shape. For example, each floor includes only a Mens Room or a Women's Room, but not both. Another, to reach the top twenty-first floor, which was added three years after the completion of the rest of the building itself, a separate elevator must be taken from the twentieth floor. Upon its completion, public sentiment believed that the wind would knock down the building due to the treacherous wind tunnels formed by the geography of the site, which would create strong updrafts and downdrafts in unpredictable ways. Engineers remain confident that this is not a worrisome issue. The Chrysler building is another iconic New York destination for architecture and design. At one thousand and forty six feet tall the tower held the position of highest building in the world when it was built in 1930, until it was surpassed only eleven months later by the ongoing construction of the Empire State Building. The Chrysler building remains, however, the tallest brick building in the world, and features a steel structure in addition to the brick body. The Chrysler Building is a classic example of Art Deco architecture and considered by many architectural critics to be one of the best-designed buildings in New York City. The building housed the Chrysler Car Company offices from its completion until 1950. However, the company itself never owned the building, as the funds for the construction and the land was paid out of pocket by Walter P. Chrysler personally, to enable his children to inherit the tower. The corners of the exterior on the sixty first floor feature eagle sculptures, and the corner ornamentation of the 31st floor are replicas of the 1929 Chrysler radiator caps. The building currently displays a total of 3,862 windows on its exterior. The crown of the building is its most iconic feature, comprised of seven radiating terraced arches built on top of each other in a concentric arrangement. The steel cladding is ribbed and riveted in a sunburst pattern with many triangular vaulted windows. The Chrysler Building's distinctive design has influenced similar skyscrapers around the globe; including One Liberty Place in Philadelphia, and the Al Kazim Towers in Dubai. While most people would identify 'Rockefeller Center' with 30 Rockefeller Plaza, the entire center actually includes eighteen additional commercial buildings spanning three city blocks. The Plaza has become an iconic representation of the entire complex since it stands as the architectural centerpiece of the complex, while also hosting NBC Studios. The building was the setting of the show "30 Rock", based on the real TV production activity which takes place in the studios located here. The Plaza also includes the famous ice-skating rink in the winter and the annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting, which has become an iconic annual event. Last year's tree was ninety four foot high Norway Spruce, adorned with tens of thousands of lights. Rockefeller Center constitutes a paradigm shift in the history of architectural sculpture: it is among the last major building projects in the country to integrate a program of integrated public art. There are dozens of sculptures scattered all across the complex, including the famous statue of Atlas facing Fifth Avenue. The highly recognizable bronze statue of the Greek legend of the Titan Prometheus, bringing fire to mankind, is established in the sunken plaza at the front of the Comcast Building. The statue overlooks the skaters when that area is transformed into an ice rink come wintertime. Our final destination will be the Brooklyn Bridge. The Brooklyn Bridge has become an integral part of the iconic Manhattan Skyline. Completed in 1883, the bridge is one of the oldest bridges in the United States and the first Steel-Wire suspension bridge in the world, making it an important historical attraction. The bridge connects downtown Manhattan with Brooklyn by extending about 1,600 feet across the East River. Over 125,000 cars cross the Brooklyn Bridge each day, making it a pivotal lifeline into downtown Manhattan. The sight of the bridge becomes even more impressive when viewed in tandem with its close-by neighbor, the Manhattan Bridge While the Brooklyn Bridge is officially a suspension bridge,it utilizes a hybrid cable-stayed/suspension bridge model. The towers are built of limestone, granite, and Rosendale cement. The stone was quarried at the Clark Quarry in nearby Essex County. The granite blocks were quarried in Maine and delivered to New York by ship. When the bridge was built many passageways and compartments were integrated into its anchorages. New York City rented out the vaults under the bridge's Manhattan anchorage in order to fund the bridge. Opened in 1876, the vaults were used to store wine, as they were always at 60 degrees Farenheit. Whether you're sightseeing in New York as a casual tourist or have come to New York with its architecture in mind, its certainly worthwhile to hop-off your tour bus and sightsee these masterpieces up close!