The Skyscraper Museum is tucked away right at bottom of Manhattan and around the back of the Ritz Carlton Hotel, almost an after thought to the building. This could be seen as a metaphor for the museum itself.
I had to go solo to this due to a general lack of interest amongst friends. After paying a $5 entrance fee, I walked into this tiny museum immediately knowing this wasn’t going to be the most detailed of tours.
The initial exhibition on Park Row and the birth of the modern skyscrapers is right on the money – tons of information, trivia and timelines of how the newspaper giants deliberately headed skywards in the 1880’s. But then it kind of loses momentum and very little is provided as to how and why the skyline continued to soar, or about the men and vision behind it. I was expecting much more on the history, architecture and stories behind the Singer Building, the Met Life Tower, the Woolworth and the Chrysler Building and how the skyscrapers continued to rise and rise in the early 20th century.
That’s not to say it’s all bad, the Twin Towers are treated with due respect with an exhibition on them as well as excellent detailed models of the Manhattan skyline in general. There is also an interesting timeline of the world’s skyscrapers, though info on Dubai and Shanghai’s grand plans aren’t really what you want in NYC.
Overall, an ok museum for the price – but it had the potential to be so much better.
Skyscraper Museum 39 Battery Pl. New York, NY 10280 (Battery Park)