New York City has historically set the skyscraper architecture scene with buildings such as the iconic Chrysler Building, which was a trailblazer in architectural lighting in 1931. Over the last decade, the skyline has transformed not only in size, but also in dynamic new building shapes, such as those which twist and turn to create a very futuristic vision. Living up to its fame as the city that never sleeps, New York City’s skyline is constantly evolving.
The best experts in this subject are the American Institute of Architects (AIANY) tour guides — all licensed and established professional architects — who host the “Around Manhattan” Architecture boat cruises with Classic Harbor Line. October (aka Archtober), marks their 10th year enlightening over 11,000 plus guests about the most historic skyline in the world, where every building has a unique back story. An added bonus is the vantage point of Classic Harbor Line’s 1920s-inspired commuter yachts designed by brothers John and Rick Scarano of Scarano Boat Builders in Albany, NY. The largest motor yacht in their fleet, Yacht Manhattan II, was completed in 2014 and specially designed with architecture tours in mind.
“Manhattan II is a refinement on our original Manhattan I, our first effort at a Manhattan excursion boat specifically designed to see the skyline of Manhattan through overhead skylights,” notes John Scarano. “We wanted larger groups to be able to see as much of the skyline as possible wherever they looked around the boat from inside the cabin.”
To mark the 10-year anniversary in October, (aka Archtober), Classic Harbor Line is debuting a new boat tour that focuses on the remarkable skyline of Manhattan after sunset. Guests will learn how—and why—the city’s buildings and landmarks light up each night, as well as more about their carefully planned and orchestrated seasonal and holiday changes. The joy of seeing it from this waterside perspective is the double view provided by the iconic NYC skyline reflecting off the surrounding waters. The new tour addition, officially called the AIANY Architecture and Lights of Gotham, runs on Tuesdays, October 1 and 8 from 7:30-9:45 pm and October 22 and 29 from 6:30-8:45 pm. Find tickets under All New Architecture Tour on https://sail-nyc.com.
To commemorate this 10th season of collaborative architecture tours, Classic Harbor Line guests will be treated to a “10-year retrospective” narrative from the perspective of one of six AIANY guides who have witnessed this historically dynamic decade of physical change for New York City. One of the original AIANY architecture guides celebrating this 10-year anniversary, Arthur Platt, has developed his own rhythm and tour focal points over the years.
“During the circumnavigation, we offer guests a comprehensive understanding of the city as seen from the water. Along with seeing thrilling new structures and sites, I feel the tours are most successful when the goals of urban design, architecture and landscape architecture are discovered by audiences from all over an increasingly urbanized planet,” explained Platt.
Architecture has also been experiencing its own significant changes, such as the increase of women architects who are making their mark on the NYC skyline, including Ayumi Sugiyama of Big Architecture, who designed the new American Copper Building with undulating towers connected by a skybridge pool on NYC’s East Side. Meanwhile, Cameron Ringness designed the Statue Of Liberty Museum and Signe Nielsen is responsible for designing the new park spaces of Governors Island. Maverick architect Bjarke Engles brought exciting and at times controversial changes to the skyline through three striking buildings that are either completed or near completion along the Westside skyline near the Hudson River’s edge. Architects have also exercised more creative freedom when it comes to lighting over the past decade. Some of the most exciting examples of this trend are The Municipal Building on Chambers Street and Pier 17 near the Seaport Museum. “In addition to older buildings that added lighting, there are a few new ones I look forward to seeing light up, like the iconic Via57West at West 57th on the Hudson River,” says Lead Gotham Lights Tour guide and AIA architect Joseph Lengeling.
You’ll definitely want to gather a savvy group together or indulge yourself in the best architecture tour in the care of real professionals. Join the architects, boat captains and experienced crew aboard the Yacht Manhattan II for a journey through time as you fully circumnavigate the island of Manhattan and uncover critically-acclaimed structures, as well as changes and developments to the NYC skyline and waterfront since the inception of this tour in 2009.