The Skyline as a Symbol
Artists, painters, sculptors, and photographers captured the skyscraper for purely artistic purposes. Some artists derived immense inspiration from the tall buildings, and it was portrayed in their artwork.
One building in particular that changed the notion of the skyscraper, and that of the skyline itself, was the Singer Building, built in 1908. It was one of America’s most famous and recognizable buildings, and the first building to rise above 600 feet. It was also the first building that enticed the public. It inspired people to think about skyscrapers in a new way. The building’s image was used as widespread publicity in a way that no building had been before. The Singer Building was photographed and sketched by the company for its ability to make customers feel awestruck. The image was used for promotional purposes and promotional materials. It was the first time a skyscraper was marketed, as one would market a product. The building itself became an icon, which lead the way for other buildings to become icons in their own right. Eventually, the accumulation of these icons led to a skyline.
It helped to draw the view upwards, but in a way so that the gaze itself was not upwards, but outwards. Instead of thinking of buildings from the ground up, it was possible to see the buildings from eye level. It provided the ability to see the view from inside the skyline itself. They were not seeing an outline of a mass of buildings, but the individual buildings themselves. The Singer Building therefore provided the skyline with a feeling of innovation and discovery, a symbol of progress and hope, expanding to the outermost limits of the city.
“Was up in the tower can get plenty of fresh air here, Fritzie"
“ Dear daughter this is from papa here up 394 feet from St.201”
“In the distance looms the Montgomery Ward Tower, from which the ‘watchdog,’ can scan the whole lake front [sic] when his duty impels him to do so.”
The increasing prominence of skyscrapers in the city of New York from 1900-1919, as well as the minds of the general population, led to a new appreciation for the buildings. The skyscrapers were no longer just buildings, but took on meanings themselves. They were used as promotional devices, to help companies thrive, or in other cases, were used in artistic renderings. This helped give the skyscrapers, and as a result the skyline, a symbolism that it had not had before. Now, when people looked at New York City, or thought of it, they had predetermined ideas in their head, created from prior viewings, although not necessarily of the actual skyscraper. For some, the skyline brought with it a negative connotation, but for most, it was a symbol of progress and innovation for the country, and possibly a symbol of hope for the future.
 Joseph J.Korom. The American skyscraper, 1850-1940: a celebration of height. Branden Books: Boston, 2008.
 "1939 New York World's Fair Souvenir Plate New York Skyline Mason England,” photograph, 1939 (plate made), etsy.com, https://www.etsy.com/listing/209640363/1939-new-york-worlds-fair-souvenir-plate?ref=market (accessed November 27 2014).
 Joseph J.Korom. The American skyscraper, 1850-1940: a celebration of height. Branden Books: Boston, 2008. p.244
 “Sterling Silver Demitasse Souvenir Art Deco Nouveau Spoon Spoons, c.1900-1950," photograph, 1930 (spoons made), etsy.com, https://www.etsy.com/listing/120853262/8-is-never-enough-sterling-silver?ref=market (accessed November 27 2014).
 “The skyscraper became part of American culture early in the infancy of the art-form. Here New York’s Park Row Building is seen from the eyes of two toasted gents, the caption reads: Oh! Those fine buildings, what a pitiful sight, none of them, soberly standing upright.”
Joseph J.Korom. The American skyscraper, 1850-1940: a celebration of height. Branden Books: Boston, 2008. p.245
 See my paper about zoning regulations for a more in depth discussion of the 1916 Zoning Regulation
 Claude Bragdon, “Architecture in the United States III The Skyscraper,” The Architectural Record Aug. 1909: 85-96.
 City Fixes Limit on Tall Buildings” The New York Times. (New York, NY). July 26, 1916.
 Richard Panchyk. New York City skyscrapers. Arcadia Publishing: 2010.
 Joseph J. Korom The American skyscraper, 1850-1940: a celebration of height. Branden Books: Boston, 2008.
 Randall Gabrielan. Along Broadway. Arcadia Publishing: 2007.
 Ernest Flagg (architect), “Singer Building, New York City. 1906,” postcard, 1906, bc.edu, http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/fnart/fa267/tallsing.html (accessed November 27 2014).
 Postcard, handwritten message dated July 11th, 1907.
 Postcard, handwritten message dated December 7th, 1904
 Roger Shepherd, ed., Skyscraper The Search for an American Style 1891-1941 (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003) 169.