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Dublin: 10 °C Thursday 17 October, 2019
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City in the sky - check out these incredible photos of Manhattan from above

The number of skyscrapers in Manhattan has doubled to 56 in the last ten years, and another 19 are on the way.

THE ISLAND OF Manhattan in New York City is a very distinctive place, as anyone who has visited can attest (and for most travelling Irish, Manhattan is New York).

Viewed from a plane arriving into JFK Airport the little island is akin to a mushroom of huge office buildings, huddled together for warmth at the mouth of the Hudson river.

You might be surprised to learn that the number of skyscrapers in Manhattan has doubled in the last ten years, and it’s set to almost treble to a total of 75 in the years to come as the island goes through a period of unprecedented high-rise development.

That evolution, for good and ill, is detailed by 80-year-old writer Pete Hamill, a native of the city, in a piece in the December issue of National Geographic magazine.

ngm_december_2015_cvr Source: National Geographic

The article is illustrated by some incredible aerial views of the New York skyline by photographer George Steinmetz, who has just released a book of his own, New York Air: The View From Above.

new_new_york_ngm_1215_MM8401_001 Manhattan's skyline is undergoing dramatic change Source: George Steinmetz/National Geographic

new_new_york_ngm_1215_MM8401_013 One World Trade Center, built to replace the twin towers destroyed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, bathed in light as the sun sets. The tower now stands as the tallest building in the US Source: George Steinmetz/National Geographic

new_new_york_ngm_1215_MM8401_004 This distorted pyramid on West 57th Street contains 750 apartments and testifies to the city’s flirtation with adventurous residential architecture Source: George Steinmetz/National Geographic

Steinmetz is a specialised aerial photographer. He uses a helicopter of his own design, something he calls a “flying lawn chair” which frees him to capture the likes of these images.

Not all of Pete Hamill’s feelings toward the glass towers he finds himself surrounded by are positive.

“The city is wealthier and healthier than when I was young,” he says.

But – hey, in New York there’s always a but – it’s architectural face is colder, more remote, less human, seeming to be sneering.
In Manhattan the new superthin, supertall buildings are blocking the sky, casting long, arrogant shadows on streets once caressed by sun.

That may be so, but the place is still a photographer’s dream, as these shots by aerial expert Steinmetz show.

new_new_york_ngm_1215_MM8401_003 The 850-foot Pier 45 at Christopher and West Streets in Greenwich Village - a top-down view from the air Source: George Steinmetz/National Geographic

new_new_york_ngm_1215_MM8401_006 The Conrad Hotel, an environmentally friendly Lower Manhattan hotel, sports a green roof with a chef’s garden Source: George Steinmetz/National Geographic

Read: This couple’s photo project will resonate with anyone in a long-distance relationship

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