The Weirdest Buildings in Midtown Manhattan You Have to See For Yourself

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Last week we admired (or made fun of) Lower Manhattan’s weirdest buildings. Now we’re heading uptown to see the weirdest buildings Midtown has to offer!

weirdest buildings in midtown Vessel


Does the Vessel even count as a building? It looks more like a copper-colored beehive or a giant shawarma. Regardless of what it’s supposed to resemble, it’s still pretty cool to have a climbable art structure right off the High Line. If you choose to climb it, you might as well count it as leg day. It’s a 2,500-step walk up (but there are elevators available as well).

weirdest buildings in midtown The Shed

The Shed

Weirdness appears to come in pairs at Hudson Yards. Right across from Vessel is the Shed, a multi-use cultural center that is reminiscent of a translucent quilt. But it’s not only the building’s outer shell that makes it unique; through the use of wheels, the Shed is expandable to accommodate whatever grand exhibitions it hosts.

Weirdest Buildings in Midtown American Copper Buildings
Image via Wikimedia Commons

American Copper Buildings

The American Copper Buildings serve as a visual reminder to get up from your seat and stretch your back every once in a while. Or they’re the depiction of a giant, glass pair of chromosomes. Jokes aside, these twin buildings actually contain hundreds of luxury apartments. According to the buildings’ design firm, SHoP Architects, the two structures are indeed covered in copper (hence the name) and are made to appear to be dancing with each other. Even more interesting, the skybridge connecting the two buildings contains a pool. Imagine taking your daily swim 300 feet above the ground.

weirdest buildings in midtown 601 Lexington Avenue

601 Lexington Avenue

There are two places you’d expect to see stilts: at a carnival and under buildings in flood-prone areas. Midtown Manhattan is neither of those places and yet this massive 915-foot tower is perched on a few skinny legs. If the idea of such a large building being supported by concrete sticks makes you uneasy, don’t be. 601 Lexington, aka the Citigroup Center, is perfectly safe… now. It only truly posed a danger back in 1978 when a mathematical oversight didn’t account for how quarterly winds could potentially topple the 59-story building. You can hear more about this anxiety-inducing tale on the podcast 99% Invisible.

weirdest buildings in midtown 432 Park Ave

432 Park Avenue

432 Park sticks out like a sore thumb over Midtown Manhattan. It’s not a weird shape or a flashy color. It’s just obscenely tall and incredibly bland. And that’s exactly why it has earned the title of the most hated building in New York City. I mean, look at it. It looks like a child gathered all their Legos and stacked them into one tall stick. In a city full of so much creativity, no one working on this project thought that it needed a little less height and a little more pizzazz? No, I guess they were too focused on adding more luxury apartments to an already saturated market.

VIA 57 West
Image via Wikimedia Commons

VIA 57 West

Want to see a quirky luxury apartment building New Yorkers don’t hate? Head over to Hell’s Kitchen to see VIA 57 West. If you look at the building from across the West Side highway, it might seem more like a slanted pyramid with a chunk missing. That perception changes when you’re looking at it from across the Hudson River in New Jersey. From there, it invokes a sailboat making its way up the river.

weirdest buildings in midtown hearst tower

The Hearst Tower

If a time-traveling glitch was a building, it would be the Hearst Tower. While the top of the Hearst Tower is clearly a product of the 21st century, the base of the Tower seems trapped in the early 1900s. As it’s obvious to see, the two parts of this building were indeed built in two separate eras. The base of the Hearst Tower was commissioned by William Randolph Hearst in 1928, with the idea that a tower would be added on to it eventually. This may not have been what Hearst had in mind. But I don’t think the yellow journalist would be too upset over his namesake building’s current flamboyance.

Weirdest buildings in midtown the guggenheim museum

The Guggenheim Museum

Is it just me or does the Guggenheim look like it would be well-suited with a giant scoop of ice cream on top of it? It’s fitting that a quirky building houses a collection of work from quirky eras of art, from Impressionism onward. The building’s spiraling shape is even more impressive when viewed from inside. Try not to let it distract you too much from the art.

Which Midtown Manhattan building do you think is the weirdest of the bunch? And which section of the city do you think has quirkier buildings: Midtown Manhattan or Lower Manhattan? Share your thoughts in the comments section. And while you’re here, don’t forget to sign up for my email list and follow me on social media so you’ll be the first to know about my newest NYC guides and tips. Thanks for reading!


2 responses to “The Weirdest Buildings in Midtown Manhattan You Have to See For Yourself”

  1. A Slightly Snarky Tour of the Most Unusual Buildings Along the High Line – Shiloh in the City

    […] was designed by Heatherwick Studios, headed by Thomas Heatherwick, the same person who gave us the Vessel and Little Island. He says that this building is “a modern interpretation of the bay […]

  2. O LaMothe Avatar
    O LaMothe

    Buildings are like people. If they all looked the same they would be so-o-o very boring. I love the differences in their structures. The Vessel is where it should be. Whether one chooses to ride the elevators or climb the stairs The Shed
    being able to expand is most interesting. More power to the builders.601 Lexington Avenue stilts or pillars the space can be converted for extra space if needed. VIA 57 West all the windows make for better lighting. It is different, not unsightly The Guggenheim Museum a fitting name for that structure. What else could be housed there but, a Museum. I love the different structures and layouts. I admit a few looks weird, but the differences are what makes them interesting.

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