What is it about being tall and thin that seems to reek of prestige? Don't believe it? Consider the anecdotal evidence. Leggy supermodels. Champagne flutes. Virginia Slims cigarettes. (OK, maybe that last one's a stretch, but long and skinny was the surefire way to sell a cigarette back in the day.) Anyway. For whatever reason, marketing maybe, we've equated height with accomplishment. Witness the Manhattan skyline where it's not just height but width (or the lack of it) that's causing jaws to drop.
We're referring to Steinway Tower, located at 111 West 57th Street. It currently holds the enviable title of the world's skinniest skyscraper. The building stands 1,428 feet (435 meters) tall but is no more than 60 feet (18 meters) wide, giving it a width ratio of 24:1. If you're having trouble imagining how wide the building is, think of it this way: It's just 6 inches (15 centimeters) shorter than the distance from the pitcher's mound to home plate in a major league baseball game. Only two other skyscrapers in New York City – One World Trade Center, which stands at 1,776 feet (541 meters) tall, and Central Park Tower, which is 1,550 feet (472 meters) tall, are taller.
Steinway Tower, so-called because it's built above the famed Steinway & Sons piano company headquarters, cost $2 billion to build and is in a high-rent district, smack-dab in the middle of the southern end of Central Park, a stretch of ultra-luxury real estate, aptly nicknamed "Billionaires Row." It was designed by SHoP Architects, a New York-based architecture firm, and built by JDS Development, Property Markets Group and Spruce Capital Partners. Construction on the 84-floor tower began in 2013 and the building, with 60 apartments total, began welcoming residents in April 2022.
The cheapest studio apartment in Steinway Tower will set you back $7.75 million, with prices rising to more than $66 million for the penthouse – a three-story, 7,130-square-foot (662-square-meter) apartment connected by an oval staircase. The penthouse also includes four bedrooms, five baths, 14-foot (4-meter) ceilings and a private elevator. Sorry, it's off the market. Sold to an international buyer who only viewed it virtually.
Most New Yorkers are happy to get a building with a washer and dryer in the basement, but as you might expect, Steinway Tower offers a few more amenities including a 24-hour concierge and door attendant, a 25-meter swimming pool, double height fitness center, private shops and a private dining room.
There is a slight downside to living among the clouds. The dimensions of the tower make it highly susceptible to swaying – as much as 3 feet (0.9 meters) – when hit by high winds. Some visitors have complained of severe nausea because of the swaying. And a nearby building located at 432 Park Avenue was beset by engineering problems (including sway) that were difficult to repair because of the building's height.
Whatever else they may have done in creating Steinway Tower, the building's designers were attempting to create something bold and memorable. While not the tallest building in the world, it looks like they've fulfilled that mission.