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Skyscrapers of New York City – filmed in 1903, this footage of New York is simply astonishing

Ian Smith

This fascinating footage shows New York like you have never seen before. Filmed by the pioneers of film and photography , Auguste and Louis Lumière back in 1903, from a moving boat, the short film depicts the Hudson River (i.e., North River) shoreline and the piers of lower Manhattan beginning around Fulton Street and extending to Castle Garden and Battery Park.

The short film below is a fascinating look back in time that will take you to the city now often called “the capital of the world” in a bygone era. The official title of the film is “Skyscrapers of New York City from North River”

By 1900, New York was the richest and most populous state. Two years prior, the five boroughs of New York City became one city. The early years of the 20th century saw a range of technically sophisticated, architecturally confident skyscrapers built in New York;

The history of skyscrapers in New York City began with the completion of the World Building in 1890; the structure rose to 348 feet (106 m).Though not the city’s first high-rise, it was the first building to surpass the 284-foot (87 m) spire of Trinity Church. The World Building, which stood as the tallest in the city until 1899, was demolished in 1955 to allow for the construction of an expanded entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge.

New York has played a prominent role in the development of the skyscraper; since 1890, eleven structures in the city having held the title of world’s tallest building. New York City went through a very early high-rise construction boom that lasted from the early 1910s through the early 1930s, during which 16 of the city’s 82 tallest buildings were built — including the Woolworth Building, the Bank of Manhattan Trust Building, the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building, each of which was the tallest in the world at the time of its completion, the latter remaining so for forty years.

A second skyscraper boom began in the early 1960s. Since then, the city has seen the completion of nearly 70 structures rising at least 600 feet (183 m) high, including the twin towers of the World Trade Center. World Trade Center One, also known as the North Tower, was the tallest building in the world from 1972 until 1973 and the tallest building in New York City until 2001. The North Tower, as well as the other six buildings in the World Trade Center complex, were destroyed in the September 11 attacks of 2001.



Ian Smith

Ian Smith is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News