The Skyscraper Museum is devoted to the study of high-rise building, past, present, and future. The Museum explores tall buildings as objects of design, products of technology, sites of construction, investments in real estate, and places of work and residence. This site will look better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.
The interactive Skyline Slider allows users to compare the Lower Manhattan skyline over time, making it possible to view significant periods of growth over the past century. To interact with the Slider, touch and drag any of the controllers left or right. You can also zoom-in to closer inspect the photographs.
Through several months of research and analysis of photographic material, The Skyscraper Museum was able to compile a selection of photographs of the Lower Manhattan skyline taken from the same location in Jersey City, allowing us to create a seamless evolution of these photographs from 1902 through the present. While the photos were taken from the same vantage point, they needed to be scaled to one another, making sure all the buildings perfectly lined up from photo to photo.
This selection of photographs, taken by the commercial photographers Irving Underhill (1902, 1908, 1921, 1932) and Richard Berenholtz (1999, 2001, 2018, 2022), is featured in a larger scale in the exhibition.
Unlike traditional before-and-after sliders, the Skyline Slider featured in this exhibition contains four photographs to simultaneously compare. They are organized as two interfaces, 1902 – 1932 and 1999 - 2022. Beyond the apparent growth of the city over time, these photographs show the changing typologies of the skyscrapers that result from particular economic conditions and municipal regulations: For example the cluster of taller buildings near Wall Street or City Hall in 1902, where land values were higher; the emergence of setback skyscrapers shaped by the city’s first zoning law just a decade earlier, seen in the 1932 photograph; or the reclamation and reinvention of the former working waterfront with the World Financial and World Trade Center, which dominate the later skylines.