New York City is synonymous with the great buildings that stand within its limits: the Empire State Building, Grand Central Terminal, the Chrysler Building, and the Flatiron all scream The Big City. Their facades are famous—but they alone don’t make up the eponymous skyline—which is why tourists and New Yorkers alike should consider joining the New York Chapter of the AIA on one of their 32-mile Around Manhattan boat tours circumnavigating the isle of Manhattan.
Highlighting in excess of 150 Big Apple and Brooklyn buildings (and even a few in New Jersey), the tour offers a fresh perspective of the city’s structures, and by design spotlights those lining the island’s perimeter. Now in their fourth year, the AIA tour guides and partner Classic Harbor Line have hit a stride (or the aquatic equivalent, rather). Departing from Chelsea Piers, the appropriately named Manhattan heads south into the no wake zone and progresses at a fast clip. We attended on a sunny Sunday and tour guide Kyle Johnson, co-chair of the AIA New York Chapter’s Tour Committee, deftly dished out architecture and history trivia to a sold-out crew of passengers. Posed with questions about buildings not featured, Johnson didn’t miss a beat. Three hours later, back on dry land, our sea legs gave us a fresh outlook on an iconic skyline.