Cass Gilbert's Woolworth Building, William Van Alen's Chrysler Building, Mies van der Rohe's Seagram Building.
If New Yorkers once saw their skyline as the great citadel of capitalism, who could blame them? We had the best toys of all.
But for the last few decades or so, that honor has shifted to places like Singapore, Beijing and Dubai, while Manhattan settled for the predictable.
Perhaps that's about to change.
A new 75-story tower designed by the architect Jean Nouvel for a site next to the Museum of Modern Art in Midtown promises to be the most exhilarating addition to the skyline in a generation. Its faceted exterior, tapering to a series of crystalline peaks, suggests an atavistic preoccupation with celestial heights. It brings to mind John Ruskin's praise for the irrationality of Gothic architecture: "It not only dared, but delighted in, the infringement of every servile principle."