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The Guggenheim Museum.
Andrew Pielage

The most beautiful interiors in New York City, mapped

These are the NYC spaces that take our breath away

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The Guggenheim Museum.
| Andrew Pielage

Recently, we asked Curbed NY readers to nominate buildings with the most beautiful interiors; and readers, you did not disappoint. While plenty of old favorites showed up—your Grand Central Terminals, Woolworth Buildings, and so on—some of the suggestions were truly under the radar. (Who knew that a French bookshop has one of the prettiest ceiling murals in the city?)

And so, we’ve compiled a map of the most beautiful interiors in New York City, as chosen by Curbed NY readers and editors. Of course, this is by no means a complete list, so please keep the conversation going by sharing your favorite interiors in the comments section. We will continue to update with more spacious beauty as you give it to us.

[Note: Places are listed geographically, starting in Lower Manhattan and continuing north, then through the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island.]

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1. Cunard Building

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25 Broadway
New York, NY

The former headquarters of the Cunard Steamship Company at 25 Broadway are as grand as that company—responsible for the Queen Mary and the doomed Lusitania, among other ships—was during its heyday. Its enormous Great Hall, as Untapped Cities notes, is covered in intricate designs that “focused on marine and shipping themes for the building.” The first floor, where customers bought tickets for Cunard trips, is so stunning that it was designated an interior landmark in 1995.

Gigi Altarejos/Wikimedia Commons

2. One Wall Street

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1 Wall St
New York, NY

The Art Deco gem One Wall Street was designed by Ralph Walker and originally completed in 1931; it’s best known for its glorious interiors, including the Red Room (pictured) and a 49th-floor Observation Room. As part of its conversion from a commercial building into residences and ground-floor retail, the gorgeous Red Room will remain as it is. Hildreth Meière, a muralist who also worked on St. Bartholomew’s Church and Radio City Music Hall, created the space’s gorgeous tile mosaic walls and ceiling, done primarily in scarlet but with lovely gold accents.

3. The Beekman

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123 Nassau St
New York, NY
(212) 233-2300
Visit Website

What was once the eerie, abandoned Temple Court is now home to the Beekman Hotel, a luxury lodging that’s now open to the public. The circa-1884 building is best known for its nine-story atrium, topped with a gorgeous skylight. Its ornate iron railings and lovely flooring were all restored as part of its transformation into a hotel; now, anyone can wander in off the street and look up at the stunning space (which we highly recommend you do).

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4. Old City Hall subway

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Centre St.
New York, NY

There are so many things that make this now-defunct subway station one of the city’s most special spaces: the Guastavino tile, ornate skylights, and beautiful chandeliers that earned it the nickname “the jewel in the crown” when it opened in 1904. This is, alas, one of the harder interiors on this list to access; you’ll need a New York Transit Museum membership, and then to sign up for one of their semi-regular tours of the abandoned station.

Shutterstock

5. The Morgan Library & Museum

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225 Madison Ave
New York, NY
(212) 685-0008
Visit Website

Three disparate buildings have been knit together to create this unheralded Midtown gem, but the best interiors can be found in the stately McKim, Mead, & White-designed structure at the south end of the complex. There, you’ll find J.P. Morgan’s exquisite library—essentially the Platonic ideal of such a room—along with the splendid, marble-covered rotunda, a red-paneled study, and other glorious rooms.

A post shared by Amy (@plitter) on

6. New York Public Library

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476 5th Ave
New York, NY
(212) 930-0800
Visit Website

There are many beautiful spaces within the New York Public Library’s majestic Fifth Avenue building, but perhaps the most spectacular is the Rose Main Reading Room. After a years-long renovation that spiffed up the enormous research room—which is about as long as two city blocks—its plater rosettes, celestial mural, and ornate chandeliers are all looking better than ever. (The room itself is not landmarked, but preservationists and some local officials are hoping to change that.)

7. Edgar J. Kaufmann conference rooms

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809 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017

The United Nations complex is full of gorgeous rooms, including the lobby of the Secretariat Building, designed by architects Le Corbusier and Oscar Niemeyer, and the stunning General Assembly, which was recently renovated. One unheralded gem is the Edgar J. Kaufmann Conference Center, designed by Finnish greats Alvar and Elissa Aalto; the room’s soaring ceilings, and stately birchwood sculpture, are simply lovely. They’re also, alas, currently unprotected from destruction, and their fate is currently up in the air.

Via the Landmarks Preservation Commission

8. Ford Foundation

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320 E 43rd St Fl 4
New York, NY

The Landmarks Preservation Commission put it best in its 1997 designation of the Ford Foundation’s interiors: It’s “one of the most successful and admired interior spaces in a modern building” in New York City. The atrium was part of Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo’s initial design for the space (Dan Kiley was responsible for the landscaping), and intended to create a beautiful, lush space for both the building’s workers and the general public. Gensler oversaw a recent revamp of the building, and the result is a building that’s more accessible, in keeping with the foundation’s ethos, while maintaining its midcentury bona fides. As Curbed architecture critic Alexandra Lange put it, the reno proves “[a] landmark can rise to meet the challenges of the future, and not get left behind.”

Photo by Simon Luethi/Ford Foundation

9. Grand Central Terminal

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89 E 42nd St
New York, NY 10017
(212) 340-2583
Visit Website

There are so many beautiful spaces within Grand Central Terminal that you could spend an entire day gawking at them all, from the hidden Campbell Apartment (now a bar known as the Campbell) to the Guastavino-tile-covered Whispering Gallery near the Grand Central Oyster Bar. But the most iconic is undoubtedly the main concourse, with its soaring azure blue ceiling painted with a celestial scene. Even the most jaded New Yorker can’t help but be wowed by the stunning space.

10. Radio City Music Hall

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1260 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY
(212) 307-7171
Visit Website

One of New York’s many Art Deco stunners, Radio City Music Hall is full of gorgeous interior spaces. The soaring lobby, covered in a mural by Ezra Winter, is just the beginning; everything from the theater itself, with its simple-but-beautiful design, to the downright luxurious bathrooms, feels as beautiful as it must have when the theater opened in the 1930s. (A restoration helmed by Hugh Hardy certainly helped.)

11. David H. Koch Theater

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Lincoln Center Plaza
New York, NY
(212) 870-5570
Visit Website

Thank the 1964 World’s Fair for this untouchable midcentury gem: Built as part of the state’s cultural participation in the fair, the David H. Koch Theater (the New York State Theater until the oil billionaire donated $100 million in 2008) was designed by midcentury master Philip Johnson and John Burgee. The AIA Guide to New York City describes the building as the “most frankly Classical building facing the [Lincoln Center] plaza,” citing its “under-stated Baroque” lobby and ornate foyer with “tiers of busy railings,golden chain drapery, and a velvet ceiling, all dominated by two superb white marble sculptures.”

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12. Park Avenue Armory

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643 Park Ave
New York, NY
(212) 616-3930
Visit Website

When the Landmarks Preservation Commission describes something as “the single most important collection of 19th century interiors to survive intact in one building,” it’s no joke. Built in 1881, the Park Avenue Armory has been bestowed with both exterior and interior landmark status, and for good reason: masters of the American Aesthetic Movement as well as artists and designers like Stanford White and Louis Comfort Tiffany contributed work to the former home of the National Guard’s Seventh Regiment. The armory has since been transformed into a cultural institution, and is now undergoing a renovation by a team of modern-day masters in Herzog & de Meuron and Platt Byard Dovell White Architects.

James Ewing

13. Albertine

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972 5th Ave
New York, NY
(212) 650-0070
Visit Website

The city’s only bookstore devoted to French titles is as striking as you’d expect, especially considering its location: it sits on the first and second floors of the French Embassy on Fifth Avenue, which itself is located in Stanford White’s stunning Payne Whitney House. The bookshop is a beautiful place to wile away an afternoon, not least because of its ceiling, a stunning hand-painted mural that was “modeled after the extraordinary ceiling of the music room at the Villa Stuck in Munich, Germany,” per the shop.

A post shared by Jenny Xie (@hello88goodbye) on

14. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

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1071 5th Ave
New York, NY 10128
(212) 423-3500
Visit Website

The Guggenheim Museum on the Upper East Side is one of the most famous—and most photographed—buildings in the world. The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed structure has been an object of fascination for shutterbugs since it opened 60 years ago, thanks to its unusual shape, which has been compared to a nautilus shell and a concrete ribbon.

The interior of a museum building with a large spiral that takes up the entire space. It’s topped with a large window. Andrew Pielage

15. Gould Memorial Library at Bronx Community College

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2155 Dr Martin L King Jr Blvd
Bronx, NY
(718) 289-5174

Thank Stanford White for this glorious structure, which the architect designed to mimic Rome’s Pantheon. Its best-known interior space is the rotunda, which is topped with an enormous dome; marble columns and stained-glass windows are other decorative elements. And per a Times article on the space (which is in need of a restoration), both the Bible and Paradise Lost are quoted, appropriately, on various parts of the structure.

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16. Marine Air Terminal

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LGA Airport
Flushing, NY

Not everything at LaGuardia Airport is terrible. Take, for example, the Marine Air Terminal, built during the Great Depression and yet somehow more exuberant than any other part of that reviled airport. The best feature of the Art Deco building can be found indoors: Its walls are covered in a mural called Flight, created by artist James Brooks as part of the Works Progress Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project. The kinetic, colorful piece depicts the evolution of flight, as experienced by man.

A post shared by Chad ✈✈✈✈ (@sea2sky71) on

17. New York Hall of Science

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47-01 111th St
Corona, NY
(718) 699-0005
Visit Website

Architect Wallace Harrison is responsible for this imposing concrete structure, whose shimmering interior is one of New York’s greatest surprises. The Great Hall, as it’s known, was created using a technique called dalle de verre, in which thousands of bits of blue glass were embedded into the concrete, creating an eerie, lost-in-space effect. (That’s no accident, obviously; the building opened during the future-obsessed 1964 World’s Fair.) The hall recently received a renovation courtesy Ennead Architects that spiffed up the space without taking out its original character.

© Jeff Goldberg / Esto

18. TWA Flight Center

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Terminal 5
Jamaica, NY

Despite years of disuse, Eero Saarinen’s TWA Flight Center at JFK Airport is still a pristine, space-age marvel. Its gorgeous curved structure—innovative at the time, and still fresh to this day—is the opposite of what one expects from an airport experience, made all the more interesting thanks to the pops of color throughout. Stepping into it is like entering a time capsule back to the golden age of air travel—and with any luck, that feeling will be preserved when it’s incorporated into a boutique hotel in the coming years.

19. Kings Theatre

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1025 Flatbush Ave
Brooklyn, NY

One of Brooklyn’s most majestic theaters wasn’t always that way. King’s originally opened in 1929 as one of several Loew’s Wonder Theaters; but by the 1970s, it was underutilized, and was eventually left to rot for nearly four decades. But thanks to a painstaking restoration, completed in 2015, the theater is back and better than ever. Its opulent decorative details were re-created (down to the paint colors), and it’s now one of Brooklyn’s most beautiful music venues.

EverGreene Kings Theatre Max Touhey

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1. Cunard Building

25 Broadway, New York, NY
Gigi Altarejos/Wikimedia Commons

The former headquarters of the Cunard Steamship Company at 25 Broadway are as grand as that company—responsible for the Queen Mary and the doomed Lusitania, among other ships—was during its heyday. Its enormous Great Hall, as Untapped Cities notes, is covered in intricate designs that “focused on marine and shipping themes for the building.” The first floor, where customers bought tickets for Cunard trips, is so stunning that it was designated an interior landmark in 1995.

25 Broadway
New York, NY

2. One Wall Street

1 Wall St, New York, NY

The Art Deco gem One Wall Street was designed by Ralph Walker and originally completed in 1931; it’s best known for its glorious interiors, including the Red Room (pictured) and a 49th-floor Observation Room. As part of its conversion from a commercial building into residences and ground-floor retail, the gorgeous Red Room will remain as it is. Hildreth Meière, a muralist who also worked on St. Bartholomew’s Church and Radio City Music Hall, created the space’s gorgeous tile mosaic walls and ceiling, done primarily in scarlet but with lovely gold accents.

1 Wall St
New York, NY

3. The Beekman

123 Nassau St, New York, NY

What was once the eerie, abandoned Temple Court is now home to the Beekman Hotel, a luxury lodging that’s now open to the public. The circa-1884 building is best known for its nine-story atrium, topped with a gorgeous skylight. Its ornate iron railings and lovely flooring were all restored as part of its transformation into a hotel; now, anyone can wander in off the street and look up at the stunning space (which we highly recommend you do).

123 Nassau St
New York, NY

4. Old City Hall subway

Centre St., New York, NY
Shutterstock

There are so many things that make this now-defunct subway station one of the city’s most special spaces: the Guastavino tile, ornate skylights, and beautiful chandeliers that earned it the nickname “the jewel in the crown” when it opened in 1904. This is, alas, one of the harder interiors on this list to access; you’ll need a New York Transit Museum membership, and then to sign up for one of their semi-regular tours of the abandoned station.

Centre St.
New York, NY

5. The Morgan Library & Museum

225 Madison Ave, New York, NY

Three disparate buildings have been knit together to create this unheralded Midtown gem, but the best interiors can be found in the stately McKim, Mead, & White-designed structure at the south end of the complex. There, you’ll find J.P. Morgan’s exquisite library—essentially the Platonic ideal of such a room—along with the splendid, marble-covered rotunda, a red-paneled study, and other glorious rooms.

225 Madison Ave
New York, NY

6. New York Public Library

476 5th Ave, New York, NY

There are many beautiful spaces within the New York Public Library’s majestic Fifth Avenue building, but perhaps the most spectacular is the Rose Main Reading Room. After a years-long renovation that spiffed up the enormous research room—which is about as long as two city blocks—its plater rosettes, celestial mural, and ornate chandeliers are all looking better than ever. (The room itself is not landmarked, but preservationists and some local officials are hoping to change that.)

476 5th Ave
New York, NY

7. Edgar J. Kaufmann conference rooms

809 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017
Via the Landmarks Preservation Commission

The United Nations complex is full of gorgeous rooms, including the lobby of the Secretariat Building, designed by architects Le Corbusier and Oscar Niemeyer, and the stunning General Assembly, which was recently renovated. One unheralded gem is the Edgar J. Kaufmann Conference Center, designed by Finnish greats Alvar and Elissa Aalto; the room’s soaring ceilings, and stately birchwood sculpture, are simply lovely. They’re also, alas, currently unprotected from destruction, and their fate is currently up in the air.

809 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017

8. Ford Foundation

320 E 43rd St Fl 4, New York, NY
Photo by Simon Luethi/Ford Foundation

The Landmarks Preservation Commission put it best in its 1997 designation of the Ford Foundation’s interiors: It’s “one of the most successful and admired interior spaces in a modern building” in New York City. The atrium was part of Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo’s initial design for the space (Dan Kiley was responsible for the landscaping), and intended to create a beautiful, lush space for both the building’s workers and the general public. Gensler oversaw a recent revamp of the building, and the result is a building that’s more accessible, in keeping with the foundation’s ethos, while maintaining its midcentury bona fides. As Curbed architecture critic Alexandra Lange put it, the reno proves “[a] landmark can rise to meet the challenges of the future, and not get left behind.”

320 E 43rd St Fl 4
New York, NY

9. Grand Central Terminal

89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017

There are so many beautiful spaces within Grand Central Terminal that you could spend an entire day gawking at them all, from the hidden Campbell Apartment (now a bar known as the Campbell) to the Guastavino-tile-covered Whispering Gallery near the Grand Central Oyster Bar. But the most iconic is undoubtedly the main concourse, with its soaring azure blue ceiling painted with a celestial scene. Even the most jaded New Yorker can’t help but be wowed by the stunning space.

89 E 42nd St
New York, NY 10017

10. Radio City Music Hall

1260 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY

One of New York’s many Art Deco stunners, Radio City Music Hall is full of gorgeous interior spaces. The soaring lobby, covered in a mural by Ezra Winter, is just the beginning; everything from the theater itself, with its simple-but-beautiful design, to the downright luxurious bathrooms, feels as beautiful as it must have when the theater opened in the 1930s. (A restoration helmed by Hugh Hardy certainly helped.)

1260 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY

11. David H. Koch Theater

Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY

Thank the 1964 World’s Fair for this untouchable midcentury gem: Built as part of the state’s cultural participation in the fair, the David H. Koch Theater (the New York State Theater until the oil billionaire donated $100 million in 2008) was designed by midcentury master Philip Johnson and John Burgee. The AIA Guide to New York City describes the building as the “most frankly Classical building facing the [Lincoln Center] plaza,” citing its “under-stated Baroque” lobby and ornate foyer with “tiers of busy railings,golden chain drapery, and a velvet ceiling, all dominated by two superb white marble sculptures.”

Lincoln Center Plaza
New York, NY

12. Park Avenue Armory

643 Park Ave, New York, NY
James Ewing

When the Landmarks Preservation Commission describes something as “the single most important collection of 19th century interiors to survive intact in one building,” it’s no joke. Built in 1881, the Park Avenue Armory has been bestowed with both exterior and interior landmark status, and for good reason: masters of the American Aesthetic Movement as well as artists and designers like Stanford White and Louis Comfort Tiffany contributed work to the former home of the National Guard’s Seventh Regiment. The armory has since been transformed into a cultural institution, and is now undergoing a renovation by a team of modern-day masters in Herzog & de Meuron and Platt Byard Dovell White Architects.

643 Park Ave
New York, NY

13. Albertine

972 5th Ave, New York, NY

The city’s only bookstore devoted to French titles is as striking as you’d expect, especially considering its location: it sits on the first and second floors of the French Embassy on Fifth Avenue, which itself is located in Stanford White’s stunning Payne Whitney House. The bookshop is a beautiful place to wile away an afternoon, not least because of its ceiling, a stunning hand-painted mural that was “modeled after the extraordinary ceiling of the music room at the Villa Stuck in Munich, Germany,” per the shop.

972 5th Ave
New York, NY

14. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

1071 5th Ave, New York, NY 10128
The interior of a museum building with a large spiral that takes up the entire space. It’s topped with a large window. Andrew Pielage

The Guggenheim Museum on the Upper East Side is one of the most famous—and most photographed—buildings in the world. The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed structure has been an object of fascination for shutterbugs since it opened 60 years ago, thanks to its unusual shape, which has been compared to a nautilus shell and a concrete ribbon.

1071 5th Ave
New York, NY 10128

15. Gould Memorial Library at Bronx Community College

2155 Dr Martin L King Jr Blvd, Bronx, NY

Thank Stanford White for this glorious structure, which the architect designed to mimic Rome’s Pantheon. Its best-known interior space is the rotunda, which is topped with an enormous dome; marble columns and stained-glass windows are other decorative elements. And per a Times article on the space (which is in need of a restoration), both the Bible and Paradise Lost are quoted, appropriately, on various parts of the structure.

2155 Dr Martin L King Jr Blvd
Bronx, NY

16. Marine Air Terminal

LGA Airport, Flushing, NY

Not everything at LaGuardia Airport is terrible. Take, for example, the Marine Air Terminal, built during the Great Depression and yet somehow more exuberant than any other part of that reviled airport. The best feature of the Art Deco building can be found indoors: Its walls are covered in a mural called Flight, created by artist James Brooks as part of the Works Progress Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project. The kinetic, colorful piece depicts the evolution of flight, as experienced by man.

LGA Airport
Flushing, NY

17. New York Hall of Science

47-01 111th St, Corona, NY
© Jeff Goldberg / Esto

Architect Wallace Harrison is responsible for this imposing concrete structure, whose shimmering interior is one of New York’s greatest surprises. The Great Hall, as it’s known, was created using a technique called dalle de verre, in which thousands of bits of blue glass were embedded into the concrete, creating an eerie, lost-in-space effect. (That’s no accident, obviously; the building opened during the future-obsessed 1964 World’s Fair.) The hall recently received a renovation courtesy Ennead Architects that spiffed up the space without taking out its original character.

47-01 111th St
Corona, NY

18. TWA Flight Center

Terminal 5, Jamaica, NY

Despite years of disuse, Eero Saarinen’s TWA Flight Center at JFK Airport is still a pristine, space-age marvel. Its gorgeous curved structure—innovative at the time, and still fresh to this day—is the opposite of what one expects from an airport experience, made all the more interesting thanks to the pops of color throughout. Stepping into it is like entering a time capsule back to the golden age of air travel—and with any luck, that feeling will be preserved when it’s incorporated into a boutique hotel in the coming years.

Terminal 5
Jamaica, NY

19. Kings Theatre

1025 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY
EverGreene Kings Theatre Max Touhey

One of Brooklyn’s most majestic theaters wasn’t always that way. King’s originally opened in 1929 as one of several Loew’s Wonder Theaters; but by the 1970s, it was underutilized, and was eventually left to rot for nearly four decades. But thanks to a painstaking restoration, completed in 2015, the theater is back and better than ever. Its opulent decorative details were re-created (down to the paint colors), and it’s now one of Brooklyn’s most beautiful music venues.

1025 Flatbush Ave
Brooklyn, NY