The Hidden City in Manhattan’s “Other” Skyline

May 28, 2014

As any fan of Spiderman knows, the “corridors” created by Manhattan’s tall buildings are a perfect way to beat traffic through a little web-swinging. But look more closely and Spiderman’s transportation of choice reveals a secret city like none other.

One of the most famous and ubiquitous skylines in the world has seen its share of changes — most recently the rise of the Freedom Tower in place of the twin towers of the original World Trade Center — but has remained one of the most recognizable. Yet hidden among New York’s tallest buildings is another skyline as unique as the city itself created by the negative air space formed between the granite and steel structures reaching for the sky on each side of the street.


While heading crosstown on 53rd Street with my husband one Sunday afternoon, I couldn’t help but notice how much like a skyscraper the inverted air space looked. I snapped a picture (how we love our smartphones with built in cameras), turned it upside, and remarked to my husband, “Wow, how cool is that?” (Well, it was pretty darn cool!) Convinced I had discovered a never before seen perspective of the city, I did a quick Google search to confirm my originality.

NYC's Inverted skyline

Well, let’s just say I wasn’t the first person to discover this earth shattering point of view. Still, I snapped a few more photos to share with those of you who prefer not to become a contortionist in the middle of Manhattan.

While they do the trick, they can’t compare to the hauntingly beautiful photos I found in my Google search by artist Peter Wegner which expose secret virtual cities emerging from the streets of New York, Chicago and San Francisco. The complete series of photos can be seen in his book, Buildings Made of Sky.

However, if you’re feeling adventurous the next time you’re rushing across town, take a minute to look up, and then “up”side down, to catch a glimpse of Manhattan’s “other” skyline — and maybe you’ll even see a man in a spider suit keeping watch over the city. Hey, it’s New York —  you never know what you’ll find if you know just where to look.

Now let’s take a look at our main photo again…..see the hidden city?


All images by Stephanie Hoina except where noted


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