Ten & Taller

Witness the beginning of high-rise Manhattan with this online interactive map

East Media Skyscrapers
(Courtesy The Skyscraper Museum)
(Courtesy The Skyscraper Museum)

In 1874 The New York Tribune Building, designed by Richard Morris Hunt, topped out at 260 feet (including the clock tower) on 154 Printing House Square (Nassau Street and Spruce Street) in Manhattan. Though demolished in 1966, the building lives on in TEN & TALLER: 1874-1900, an exhibition at the Skyscraper Museum in New York City. But if you can’t wait to delve into the TEN & TALLER, an online interactive map is available below.

TEN & TALLER documents all 252 Manhattan buildings erected before and 1900 that, as its name suggests, were ten stories or taller. The museum’s online interactive map plots the 252 structures on both historic and contemporary maps of Manhattan. A timeline feature starting at 1874 (the year Manhattan’s first ten story building went up) allows users to toggle through the years, revealing ten-story-plus buildings all color coded by typology (“office, hotel, apartment, loft,” and “other”) in the process.

(Courtesy The Skyscraper Museum)

(Courtesy The Skyscraper Museum)

In addition to zooming in and out, users can also appear and disappear the historic/contemporary Manhattan grid. The historic grid is comprised of 101 plates from 1909 Bromley’s Atlas (updated to 1915). The result of more than 1,500 hours of work—stitching individual files together and aligning them with the modern-day grid of Manhattan—the map (according to its creators) is the only one of its kind that covers such a wide geography of Manhattan and can be examined in such detail.


Chart showing the height of buildings constructed since 1874. (Courtesy The Skyscraper Museum)

Chart showing the height of buildings constructed since 1874. (Courtesy The Skyscraper Museum)

Upon this mega-map, the footprints of the buildings appear as users alter the date. Buildings can be clicked on too, in order to find out more information on the building such as: when it was built; its status; height, width and slenderness (height divided by width); depth; architect; building use; framing; type of walling used (and their material composition) and cost.

As to why the study only looks at 26 years of New York’s high-rise development history, The Skyscraper Museum said in a press release that the early development of skyscrapers was a narrative which they felt deserved more attention. By 1900, the standard method of construction was skeleton construction and thus the technology to allow towers to rise skyward paved the way for an influx of high-rise development.

At the museum’s gallery, the exhibition features models, maps, historic photographs, and original architectural drawings to depict this narrative. The exhibition is now on show at 39 Battery Place runs through April this year.

[Warning: This map will not scale on a mobile device or small screen. You can also access it on the Skyscraper Museum’s website here.]

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