Image: Grand Central Terminal
Gregory Bull  /  AP
Grand Central's beauty was restored in a project completed in 1998, and the corridors were enlivened with exhibition space and interesting places to eat and shop.
updated 2/21/2008 3:36:22 PM ET 2008-02-21T20:36:22

Everybody knows what the Empire State Building looks like. That's why Rick Bell, the head of the Center for Architecture, didn't put the famous skyscraper on his list of 10 great buildings to see in New York.

But the list from the Center for Architecture, which is the American Institute for Architects chapter in New York, does include the Conde Nast Building in Times Square, which is considered the first green skyscraper; the Apple store in Soho, noted for its glass bridge and staircase; and the Seagram Building, the only design in New York by famed architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

If you're an architecture buff, here are some details on why these and seven other buildings should be on your must-see list. While you're in town, you may also want to visit the Center for Architecture at 536 LaGuardia Place; click here for details on current exhibits.

Conde Nast Building: 4 Times Square, Manhattan, by Fox & Fowle Architects, 1996-1999. This 866-foot tall skyscraper in the heart of Times Square is what Bell calls "environmentally correct," with state-of-the-art air quality and energy conservation systems.

Brooklyn Museum: Entry pavilion and plaza, 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, by James Stewart Polshek, 2004. The glass and steel circular structure modernized the museum's imposing 19th century Beaux Arts facade while making it inviting and accessible, a suitable centerpiece for Brooklyn's burgeoning hipster art scene.

Prada New York: 575 Broadway, near Prince Street, Manhattan, by Rem Koolhaas, 2001. A wave of zebrawood is the centerpiece of Prada's flagship store, in Soho. "It displays the merchandise, it doesn't sell it," said Bell.

Rose Center For Earth And Space: At the American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th Street, Manhattan, by James Stewart Polshek, 2000. This illuminated 87-foot diameter sphere, which appears to be floating in a huge glass cube, houses the Hayden Planetarium and Space Theater.

Apple Store Soho: 103 Prince St., Manhattan, by Ronnette Riley and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, 2002, with Apple's creative team, including CEO Steve Jobs and others. If you're looking for the Apple Store on Prince Street, you'll be forgiven for doing a doubletake or maybe even walking right past it. The exterior is a 1920s stone and brick post office, with the original "STATION A" signage above the entrance. The inside is distinguished by clean, white space and an inviting glass staircase to a glass bridge upstairs.

Grand Central Terminal: 42nd Street and Park Avenue, Manhattan, by Reed & Stern and Warren & Wetmore, 1903-1913, restored by Beyer, Blinder & Belle, 1998. The famed train station's Beaux Arts Classical design is known for its arches, clock, constellation ceiling and cathedral windows. The building's beauty was restored in a project completed in 1998, and the corridors were enlivened with exhibition space and interesting places to eat and shop. Free tours ($10 suggested donation) sponsored by the Municipal Arts Society, Wednesdays, 12:30 p.m.; meet at the information booth on the main concourse.

Morgan Library Expansion: 33 E. 36th St., at Fifth Avenue, Manhattan, Renzo Piano, 2006. Piano's expansion of the Morgan Library, a 1906 Beaux Arts building designed by McKim, Mead & White, is considered one of his masterpieces, with glass walls linking the old and new.

Chrysler Building: 405 Lexington Ave., at 42nd Street, Manhattan, by William Van Alen, 1930. This building is not as well-known as the Empire State Building, but Bell thinks it should be (even though it doesn't have a public observation deck). It's a phenomenal example of Art Deco architecture that is both elegant and fun, from the distinctive tiered crown, easily picked out from the city skyline, to the enormous gargoyles shaped like radiator caps.

Hearst Tower: 951-969 Eighth Ave., near 56th Street, Manhattan, by Sir Norman Foster, 2004. This 42-story tower was built atop the original six-story home of the Hearst media empire. The diagonal gridwork and see-through glass panels, with no vertical supporting columns, make this sleek design unique in the world.

Seagram Building: 375 Park Ave., near 53rd Street, by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson (design architects) and Kahn & Jacobs (associate architects), 1958. "It was this building that transformed our skyline," said Bell. The building is a perfect glass box, elegantly proportioned and set back 90 feet from the street.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: Take a Bite Out of The Big Apple

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  1. A full moon rises over the skyline of New York City, as seen across the Hudson River in Weehawken, N.J., on April 25, 2013. (Gary Hershorn / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Commuters move through the grand hall of Grand Central Terminal in New York City on Jan. 25, 2013. Since its grand beginnings in 1913, when it was dubbed the greatest railway terminal in the world with an $80 million price tag, Grand Central has been an integral part of New York City. (Brendan Mcdermid / REUTERS) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Revelers cheers under falling confetti at the stroke of midnight during the New Year's Eve celebrations in Times Square on Jan. 1, 2014. (John Minchillo / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. One World Trade Center overlooks the wedge-shaped pavilion entrance of the National September 11 Museum, lower right, and the square outlines of the memorial waterfalls in New York. (Mark Lennihan / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees walks back to the dugout after flying out in the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians on June 13, 2011, at Yankee Stadium. Located in the South Bronx, the new stadium opened in 2009. (Jim Mcisaac / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Central Park was the first public park built in America. Its 843 acres include woodlands, lawns and water. Central Park was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1965 and a New York City Landmark in 1974. More than 25 million visitors enjoy Central Park each year. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Saint Patrick's Cathedral is the largest decorated gothic-style Catholic cathedral in the U.S. The cathedral's construction began in 1858, and it opened its doors in 1879. (Vincenzo Pinto / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Skaters glide around the rink at the Rockefeller Center Ice Rink. The ice rink, open between October and April, has attracted more than 250,000 people a year since it first opened on Dec. 25, 1936. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Patrons line up outside the Apollo Theater in Harlem to see Amateur Night. Since 1934, Amateur Night at the Apollo has launched the careers of famous entertainers such as Billie Holiday, James Brown, The Isley Brothers, Luther Vandross, Michael Jackson, Lauryn Hill, and many others. (Jonathan D. Woods / msnbc.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. The South Pool at the National September 11 Memorial in New York City commemorates those who died in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks after two hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center. (Justin Lane / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Pedestrians pass along a walkway under falling snow on the Brooklyn Bridge on Jan. 3, 2014, in New York. One of the oldest suspension bridges in the U.S., the Brooklyn Bridge connects Manhattan and Brooklyn. (John Minchillo / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. The Statue of Liberty looms over a visitor as he uses binoculars to look out onto New York Harbor on Oct. 13, 2013, in New York. About 4 million people visit the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island each year. (John Minchillo / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Coney Island features entertainment parks, rides, an aquarium, a public beach, a boardwalk, fishing and Nathan's restaurant. (John Minchillo / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. New York City Subway dancer Marcus Walden aka "Mr Wiggles" performs acrobatic tricks on the subway while passengers watch Nov. 23, 2010. More than 4.3 million people ride the New York subway system every day. (Timothy A. Clary / AFP/Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. The Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on the southern tip of two-mile-long Roosevelt Island - between Manhattan and Queens - was dedicated in 2012. (Paul Warchol / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York has been around since 1924 and includes large balloons, floats and performances. (Gary Hershorn / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Visitors view the Manhattan skyline from Rockefeller Center's "Top of the Rock" observation deck. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Pedestrians walk along a path on the High Line park on June 7, 2011, in New York City. The High Line was formerly an elevated railway 30 feet above the city's West Side that was built in 1934 for freight trains. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. The moon rises at sunset behind New York's Empire State building, which opened in 1931. At 102 stories high, the Empire State Building is the fourth tallest skyscraper in America. (Gary Hershorn / REUTERS) Back to slideshow navigation
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