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What’s It Like to Live in the World’s “Skinniest” Skyscraper?

Super-slender skyscrapers, known around the world as pencil towers, became part of the Hong Kong skyline in the 1970s. Since then, other major cities have followed suit. Now, nine years after construction began in 2013, New York City has its own skinny skyscraper, located at 111 West 57th Street.

Known as Steinway Tower and now part of the skyline overlooking Central Park, the newly unveiled 84-story residential skyscraper stands at a height of 1,428 feet (435.3 m) and is one of the tallest buildings in the Western Hemisphere – shorter only than One World Trade Center and Central Park Tower in New York City and the Willis Tower in Chicago. Despite being brand new, it's also something of a historical and cultural landmark, as it incorporates the 16-story Steinway Building, completed in 1925, at its base, which was originally home to a Steinway & Sons piano store and recital hall.

But what's even more remarkable is that the luxury apartment building is only 60 feet (18.3 m) wide. Developers call the Steinway “the most slender skyscraper in the world" because it has a height-to-width ratio of 24 to 1.

A super-skinny architectural marvel:

  • Despite standing more than a quarter-mile tall, the building's width is comparable to the length of a standard bowling alley, according to The Guardian. Locals have playfully renamed the building “The Coffee Stirrer.”

  • Like all skyscrapers, the building will sway several inches on a typical windy day. “The whole trick is to design the buildings so that the building occupants never feel the movement,” explains an MIT structural engineer.

  • Steinway Tower has opened its doors to new residents, who’ll pay about $7.75 million USD for a two-bedroom apartment and up to $66 million for the penthouse.

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    • Overlooking Central Park in New York City, Steinway Tower is 1,428 feet (435 m) tall but only 60 feet (18 m) wide.
      Overlooking Central Park in New York City, Steinway Tower is 1,428 feet (435 m) tall but only 60 feet (18 m) wide.