Perhaps no other invention typifies New York more than the skyscraper. This invention was the result of the dual inventions of steel and the safety elevator. Before these inventions, people could only tolerate walking up six flights of stairs to live and work (think about older buildings in the Lower East Side and Chinatown). Only the spires of churches and some other large items (the Brooklyn Bridge towers) rose above several stories. Although Chicago lays claim to the first skyscraper in the U.S. and the world, New York was the most eager adaptor of this new building type. The limited space on Manhattan coupled with hard rock on the island that made buildings easy to securely anchor led to a proliferation of skyscrapers that created the manmade canyons known the world over.
The Skyscraper Museum in Lower Manhattan is the perfect place for lovers of tall buildings. In addition to captivating changing exhibits, the permanent collection of the museum has details about the tallest buildings in the world and famous skyscrapers in New York. Given the location of the museum in Lower Manhattan, the museum has made an exhibit about the World Trade Center twin towers part of its permanent collection, celebrating these marvels of engineering and giving pause to their demise. Predictably, the museum also has a first-rate gift shop for everything tall buildings.
This museum is a must for fans of Manhattan’s most recognizable architectural form. Participants on Sights by Sam tours are guaranteed to receive detailed explanations of skyscrapers and other sights worth seeing on every tour.