In the last few weeks the final piece of One World Trade Center has been fitted in New York. The tower has now overtaken the Empire State Building in midtown Manhattan, making it the tallest building in the U.S. (not to mention the third largest in the world).
It’s another addition to a spectacular skyline, one which regularly makes lists of the world’s best. I’ve had a weakness for city skylines since I first set foot in London as an eager eight year old, and the evolution of the Big Apple’s outline caused me to contemplate some of my own favourites…
New York City
This is one skyline that makes my heart leap every time. See it from Brooklyn Bridge Park or the New Jersey banks of the Hudson River – whichever way you look at it, New York City’s classic skyline is hard to beat.
For me, the skyline of Shanghai, China’s poster-city, is the only one that has ever come close to that of New York. It’s bright, it’s bold, and it epitomises the drive of China’s development. Looking at Pudong, it’s hard to imagine that less than twenty years ago this urban landscape was nothing more than farmland.
When not shrouded in smog, the view of the Forbidden City from Jingshang park is something special. Climb the hill at sunset, and you’ll get an almost magical view of an ancient holdout in the middle of an ever-modernizing metropolis.
There are no skyscrapers here, but that’s not a negative. From Calton Hill the whole of Scotland’s capital is spread out before you: the spiky Scott Monument; the shopping strip of Princes Street; the geometry of the New Town; the drama of Edinburgh Castle; and the foreboding feature of the crags below Arthur’s Seat. Rural and urban, old and new – Edinburgh has it all.
It was home to the first skyscraper, so it’s hardly surprising that Chicago’s skyline is architecturally impressive. View it from the glass-floored cubes at the Skydeck, on the 103rd floor of the iconic Willis Tower, or watch the cityscape shift shape in the reflection of the ‘Bean’ in Millenium Park.
The megacity of Hong Kong is, simply put, a city of heights. With one of the highest population densities on the planet, there’s nowhere to go but up. Taking the tram to the top of Victoria Peak before walking back down is a great way to get one of the best views of this international city.
Of course, my first favourite has to be included on this list. When I visited Canary Wharf for the first time, I was mesmerized by the height of One Canada Square, then the tallest building in London. Now the Shard has taken over that title, and it’s an instantly-recognisable feature of London’s landscape (for one of the best views of the British capital, head to Aqua Shard, on the 31st floor, for cocktails).