Top 12 Slender Steinway Tower Facts

Did you know that the world’s thinnest skyscraper is located in Midtown Manhattan, New York City?

In this post, you’ll discover the ultimate list of interesting Steinway Tower facts, one of the most fascinating skyscrapers in New York City!

1. The tower is located in a fascinating area in Manhattan

The Steinway Tower, also known as 111 West 57th Street which refers to the tower’s location, is situated on the so-called “Billionaires’ Row,” an upscale area in Midtown Manhattan near Central Park.

It features some of the tallest and most amazing skyscrapers in New York City, including but not limited to the Central Park Tower, 432 Park Avenue, One57, and 53W53.

It’s fair to conclude that this is one of the most prestigious neighborhoods in the city and the supertall skyscrapers located here are inhabited by some of the richest people in the world, hence the name.

Billionaires Row
View of Billionaires’ Row / DIgbyDalton / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en

2. It’s the third-tallest skyscraper in New York

One of the most remarkable Steinway Tower facts is that there are only 2 skyscrapers in New York that are taller. These are One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the United States, and its neighbor, the Central Park Tower.

The tower has a total height of 1,428 feet (435 meters) and the top habitable story is located at a height of 1,134 feet (346 meters). The roof of the tower has a height of 1,257.5 feet (383.3 meters).

Steinway Tower from street
Seen from street level / Chris6d / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0

3. It’s the thinnest of all of New York’s “Pencil Towers”

There has been a revolution in New York in the past decade which is building extremely thin skyscrapers. Therefore, these towers have been referred to as “pencil towers.”

One of the most amazing Steinway Tower facts isn’t just that it’s the thinnest skyscraper in New York City, it’s also the thinnest skyscraper in the world with a width-to-height ratio of about 1:24.

The northern part of the tower rises directly up to the pinnacle, but the southern part has several setbacks, which makes the tower thinner as it reaches higher floors.

pencil towers
Some of the pencil towers / Itrytohelp32 / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en

4. There’s a building from the mid-1920s at the base of the tower

Even though the tower is often referred to as 111 West 57th Street, it’s also known as the “Steinway Tower” because of a building that is located at its base. This building is called “Steinway Hall” and was completed in the year 1925, right in the middle of the Roaring Twenties.

This building originally served as a Steinway & Sons store, a German-American piano company. This building was constructed with Indiana Limestone, bricks, and terracotta, and its façade has been designated as a New York City landmark since 2001.

This building has served multiple other purposes as well in its long history, including as an office building and even as a CBS broadcasting studio.

The residential tower was built right around the L-Shaped Steinway Hall which occupies most of its base.

Steinway Hall
Steinway Hall / Americasroof / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0

5. The plan to build a residential tower on the site dates back to 2005

The original plan to build a residential tower on the site dates back to the year 2005 when Investcorp and Ceebraid-Signal bought a neighboring building and the air rights in the area.

The plan was to build a 35-story tower on this location with 37 residential units, a much humbler idea than the building which is being constructed right now.

6. A building resembling a famous hotel in Paris was almost built on the site

This residential tower was never built because the Starwood Capital Group bought the buildings located at 105–107 West 57th Street a year later. The idea was less humble because a hotel to serve as a sister company of the Starwood hotel chain was planned.

This would become the “Hotel Crillon” luxury brand and was to be based on the “Hôtel de Crillon” in Paris, one of the two famous buildings at the end of the Champs-Élysees and right on one of the city’s most famous square, the Place de la Concorde.

This hotel wasn’t built as well because the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008 prevented it.

hotel-de-crillon
Hôtel de Crillon / Wiki Commons

7. The architects of the tower also designed another remarkable building

The plans of the Steinway Tower started to become concrete when Steinway & Sons announced that they would sell Steinway Hall in 2012 for an amount of USD 46 million. The buyers included JDS Development Group, Property Markets Group, and real estate developer Arthur P. Becker.

Multiple architects to design the tower were considered, but the contract was finally awarded to SHoP Architects, a firm located in Lower Manhattan in New York.

This firm was chosen because they reportedly didn’t shy away from “pushing the boundaries,” which is pretty much what they did with the development of the thinnest skyscraper in the world.

This architectural firm was also involved in the design of the Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn, New York, as well as the remarkable American Copper Buildings. They also designed the tallest skyscraper outside of Manhattan in Brooklyn called “9 DeKalb Avenue.”

American copper buildings
American Copper Buildings / Tdorante10 / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en

8. It was constructed with the tallest free-standing crane in the city’s history

Construction of the project started in early 2014 and in July of that year, the tallest free-standing crane in New York history was installed. This crane stands 220 feet (67 meters) tall and was used to quickly make the Steinway Tower rise.

Steinway Tower construction
Construction of the tower / Becker747400 / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en

9. The tower finally topped out in October of the year 2019

The massive crane didn’t cause the construction to delay, but financial problems did. In July 2017, the work completely stopped and didn’t resume until another loan was secured in November 2017. By then, the tower had already risen to a height of 500 feet (150 meters).

By April of 2019, the concrete form of the tower reached the top floor. The steel structure which goes all the way to the top of the building was completed in October 2019.

Steinway Tower topped out
Construction in December 2019 / Jim Henderson / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0

10. The building is stabilized with an enormous tuned mass damper

One of the most interesting Steinway Tower facts is the way it has been stabilized to deal with strong winds and earthquakes. The priority was to get the foundation strong enough, so 200 rock anchors were installed which go about 100 feet (30 meters) into the bedrock below.

The core structure consists of two large shear walls which are integrated behind the eastern and western façades. These are between 30 and 36 inches (76 and 91 centimeters) thick and provide the general stability of the building.

The most remarkable feature that provides stability is a gigantic tuned mass damper that weighs about 710 tonnes (710,000 kilos). This structure can absorb a lot of vibrations that could cause damage to the core structure.

This tuned mass damper is heavier than the previous record-holder, the structure located on top of Taipei 101 in Taiwan which weighs 660 tonnes (660,000 kilos).

Tuned mass damper Taipei 101
Tuned mass damper at Taipei 101 / Wiki Commons

11. The skyscraper only features 60 luxury condominiums

Most of these pencil towers are extremely tall but don’t have all that many available condominiums. Even though the tower at 111 West 57th Street features 84 floors, it only houses 60 condominiums.

Considering the construction cost of about USD 2 billion, this pretty much means that all of these sell for millions of dollars!

12. The critical reception of 111 West 57th Street was overall positive

Compared to some of the other thin skyscrapers on Billionaires’ Row, this tower has received pretty good comments from critics. A famous critic at Vanity Fair described it as “quite possibly the most elegant of Billionaires’ Row’s structures.”

A critic at Cityrealty wrote that ” it’s a very original design by SHoP, but it definitely has a feminine character with its crown resembling a tiara.”

Regardless, the location and exclusivity of this tower are simply amazing. The fact that it’s the thinnest skyscraper in the world simply gives it an extra edge and turns this slender structure into one of the most famous skyscrapers in the world!

Steinway tower and central park
The tower and Central Park / Photos Michael Young via YIMBY