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The Art of Downtown New York

New York Skyline oil painting by Roustam Nour
New York Skyline by Roustam Nour

You are walking along the Brooklyn Promenade. It’s evening. In the distance is the proud Brooklyn Bridge. Your eye follows the river of lights that flows across it until your gaze arrives at the island of Manhattan. The low sun splashes yellow light across the shining faces of the buildings.

Over the next half hour, you watch as the sky darkens and the city underneath brightens — as if the two are trading the light. And off in the waters beyond stands the Statue of Liberty, raising her lamp beside the golden door.

Downtown New York is one of the most inspiring views of the city. It really is one of the great American experiences — the culmination of so many people through so many decades coming together to contribute to this thriving place.

Its skyline is the fingerprint of the greatest city on earth. That’s why nyArt.com features some incredible works that capture downtown New York.

The amount of city that falls under the phrase Downtown New York is immense. Countless neighborhoods in Lower Manhattan make up this staggering cityscape. It contains some of the greatest achievements of architecture in the world as well as major pieces of American iconography.

And, of course, the story of the skyline is also about what isn’t there. The World Trade Center towers, once holding court among all the other skyscrapers beside them, were destroyed in the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001.

In their place today stands One World Trade Center, often called Freedom Tower. It holds a watchful eye over the city now and stands as a reminder of the enduring spirit of New York City.

A Brief History of Downtown New York

In the early 1600’s, the Dutch established New Amsterdam at the southernmost tip of Manhattan Island, in what is today the Financial District. The area was valued because of the generous New York Harbor that surrounds Manhattan Island. Here, the Hudson River drains into the Atlantic Ocean.

The Dutch developed this area until the English took over and renamed the city New York in 1664. It is from this area that the entire city expanded from. The English further built the city, and even used Lower Manhattan as the military center in its fight to resist the American Revolution.

Alexander Hamilton’s economic policies helped grow Manhattan. And the growth soon saw a new vision of the city come into focus. The Commissioners’ Plan of 1811 brought a grid street system to the entire island, and with this followed the rise of modern New York.

But anyone who has visited Lower Manhattan knows that the grid is, well, less than perfect. Part of this was the construction boom of the early 1900’s, leading to enormous buildings that didn’t fit in well with the plan — buildings like 40 Wall Street, the Woolworth Building, and others.

By 1960, Midtown Manhattan had become the center of growth on the island, leading to a depression in Lower Manhattan. It was David Rockefeller who led urban renewal in the area. He built One Chase Manhattan Plaza there and started the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association (DLMA). It was DLMA that drew up the plans for the World Trade Center, which opened on April 4th, 1973.

The area expanded its apartment space through the 90’s, leading to a significant population increase and a revitalization of the area.

The terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001 brought the world’s focus to Lower Manhattan. The bravery on that day exemplified the best of New York during its darkest hour. The area recovered, slowly but surely.

Downtown New York has witnessed every era of the city. It has grown and changed along with that history, and today it stands as a testament to the dream and concrete reality of what New York means. Let’s explore nyArt.com’s collection of Downtown New York artwork that celebrates that legacy.

Freedom Tower by Natalia Shutkina

Freedom Tower digital painting by Natalia Shutkina
Freedom Tower digital painting by Natalia Shutkina
Freedom Tower by Natalia Shutkina

This digital painting by Natalia Shutkina shows the Freedom Tower rising above the city at night. She makes use of the New York Harbor below to capture color, creating a mesmerizing image. The precise framing allows the Brooklyn Bridge to guide your eye, but it also stands as a welcoming pathway, making the viewer feel as if they might step out into the New York night of the painting.

New York Downtown by Alex Leykin

New York Downtown color film photography by Alex Leykin
New York Downtown color film photography by Alex Leykin
New York Downtown by Alex Leykin

Taken from the Brooklyn Promenade, this color fine art photograph presents the imposing mega-structures of Downtown New York’s skyline as ethereal. Through mastery of the form, Leykin captures the sky and buildings at almost the same color, giving them the quality of a mirage. The framing of the pathway in the foreground and the water in the middle ground adds to the scale and mystery of the piece.

New York Skyline by Roustam Nour

New York Skyline oil painting by Roustam Nour
New York Skyline oil painting by Roustam Nour
New York Skyline by Roustam Nour

This beautiful oil painting by Roustam Nour shows the grandeur of the city as it was in the 1990’s. The night sky is alive with dark blues and even purples, colors that swirl over a bustling city. Before the city stands the Statue of Liberty, and behind her are the twin towers of the World Trade Center. It is a proud, serene look at a night in the city as it once was.

nyArt.com’s Downtown New York Collection

nyArt.com is the place to find amazing artwork that celebrates the Big Apple. We have curated work from master artists with the ability to bring the feeling of New York into your home or office.

Every piece in our collection is available in multiple sizes and mounting options, like acrylic, birch, bamboo, gallery wrap, and many more. Whatever your needs and whatever your tastes, you can find them at nyArt.com.

There’s nothing like Downtown New York, and there’s nothing like our collection of artwork showing it in all its glory. View our collection today and bring home one of our Downtown New York paintings and photographs.

nyArt.com is the premier source for original fine art paintings and photography of New York City.