The roots of modern architecture are quite traceable to the Chicago World’s Fair in the year 1893. At the time, Daniel Burnham, as head architect, recruited several prominent assistant architects to work to design buildings for the Fair. Young European architects were enraptured by abstract forms stripped of ornament, and modern architecture took root, globally.
The skyscraper became the building form representing New York City, a structure shifting commercial and residential districts from low- to high-rise. However, New York houses a wide range of styles spanning distinct historical and cultural periods, such as the Woolworth Building, an early Gothic revival skyscraper with large-scale gothic architectural detail, the Chrysler Building, and the Empire State Building, with their tapered tops and steel spires, reflected zoning requirements..
New York’s large residential districts are defined by elegant brownstone rowhouses, townhouses, and shabby tenements erected during a period of rapid expansion from 1870 to 1930. New York City also has neighborhoods less densely populated, featuring free-standing dwellings, such as Tudor Revival and Victorian homes, and Split two-family homes.
Distinctive features also include wooden roof-mounted water towers, and Garden apartments which became popular during the 1920s in outlying areas.