Most Popular and Common Architectural Styles Of New York City

New York City is one of the most visited cities in the world. Whenever a tourist decides to give the United States a visit, New York City is high up on their list of places to visit. Times Square, Central Park, and the Statue of Liberty are just some of the absolutely gorgeous places you can visit in New York. And just being able to see this high-tech, crowded city function seamlessly day after day is a joy to experience.

Architecture is one of the most important parts of city planning. Each city has its own unique look. These distinct traits make each city stand out on its own. New York City is no exception. The city has a very recognizable skyline; as prominent features like the World Trade Center and The Empire State Building jut out into the sky. Manhattan’s perfect grid layout is also something to behold as your plane comes in to land. Multiple types of architectural styles make up this great city and give it its look.

New York City and Architecture

New York has always had an interesting relationship with architecture. The city was never afraid to embrace new art styles, resulting in vastly different looking neighborhoods throughout. However, there were also many revivals of bygone architectural designs, leading to places that look like they’re much older than they actually are. New York, unlike say other cities like Boston or Philadelphia, contains a mix of all kinds of architectures. Mimicking the way of life in the city itself; what with the diverse selection of residents from the world over.  You can also check out riverwalk Philadelphia which is a great apartment complex in that city.

On the other hand, New York has also been the leader in newer art styles; popularizing them throughout the world by taking the first steps into that new world. International Style for example, is one such art style that only took off when New York had already welcomed it with open arms. All of this helps give New York City its own look, atmosphere, and vibes. And many would agree that New York City is nothing short of an architectural museum.

Colonial And Neo-Colonial Architecture

New York City was a powerhouse back during the colonial era, and as such boasts many colonial themed buildings today. There are quite a few neighborhoods in New York that make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time; as you’re surrounded by gorgeous displays of brick, stone, or wood cladding and similar houses stretching off into the distance. Instead of shedding its past, New York fully embraces the many changes and revolutions it has gone through, and is nothing short of a love letter to past architects and their many achievements. Colonial era buildings, and indeed colonial themed buildings made after the end of said era, are found aplenty around New York.

Greek Revival Architecture

Greek Revival architecture involves shaping buildings according to the architectural marvels found in Greece and Rome. Going around the city you are sure to find a fine number of examples of this type, including some houses painted white to resemble the marble used in Greek structures. The New York Stock Exchange is one fine example of Greek Revival architecture; with its ornate carvings, massive columns, and intricate detailing. Large staircases leading up to the entrances are also a common feature of buildings following this art style.

Gothic Revival Architecture 

Gothic Revival architecture, recognized for its pointed arches and grand turrets, became popular in New York around the mid-19th century. This art style gained prominence as people became more obsessed with the long-forgotten architecture of the medieval ages. New York City contains many churches and cathedrals that are designed after Gothic Revival, and are a sight to behold. Trinity Church is one such imposing example of the Gothic Revival art style.

Art Nouveau Architecture

An answer by European architects to the symmetrical geometry of classical architecture, Art Nouveau sought to produce buildings based on more relaxed art styles. Curves and round edges were welcomed and entrances and windows were often seen protruding outwards in a welcoming gesture to visitors. Though this art style’s potential was never fully realized in New York, a lot of the buildings seen around the city were in fact based on this architecture design and many stand today as a testament to its beauty.

Cast Iron Architecture

Cast Iron architecture was the use of cast iron in the making of buildings. One very popular example of this architectural style is the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. Though Cast Iron architecture never saw equal distribution in New York City’s layout, it deserves a place on this list for one very particular reason; the Soho District (pictured above) in New York saw extensive use of the Cast Iron art style and is renowned today for being the neighborhood with the most use of Cast Iron architecture in the world. So even though it might not be too common to chance upon Cast Iron around New York, it still plays an important role in the city.

Beaux Arts Architecture

The Beaux Arts art style saw extensive use in New York City and many of the most popular destinations around the city owe their grandeur to this architectural revolution. Beaux Arts usually combines the intricacies and extravagance of classic architecture with the innovations made available due to technological advancements. This allows for huge, airy structures that have a light and friendly atmosphere. The New York Public Library is one such example of Beaux Arts, though many more exist; like Grand Central Terminal and the Brooklyn Museum.

Art Deco Architecture

New York’s skyline would be a lot emptier, or at least vastly different to how it is today, if it weren’t for the Art Deco art style. Simply put, Art Deco made it its mission to stand out. And stand out it did. Dramatic designs and the use of eye-catching geometrical layouts lent to the masterpieces we are so lucky to be able to visit today. The Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, and the Rockefeller Center are just three examples of famous New York tourist hotspots that owe their popularity to the Art Deco art style.

International Style

International Style, as we briefly talked about above, took off like crazy in New York City. The simplicity of this art style that still managed to impress was an extremely popular talking point amongst architects. The Seagram Building, debuted in 1958, was very well-received and ended up inspiring architects around the world to emulate its design. International Style is a common sight around New York City and indeed, the world.


It is often said that New York City wouldn’t be what it is today if it weren’t for the interesting blend of people that inhabit it. It is safe to say that the same holds true for its architecture. New York City wouldn’t be half the city it is today if it didn’t meld all these exciting unique art styles from different eras together into one big melting pot of utter class. Without a doubt, New York City really is one of a kind.