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New York City (NYC) Research Guide

Guide to researching New York City buildings, neighborhoods, history, and data.

Architectural Drawings

  • If a building is designed by a well-known architect, try searching Books & More, the library catalog, for books on the architect or architectural firm. 
  • If the architect or firm has a website, drawings and illustrations can sometime be found there. 
  • If a building is architecturally notable, search Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals for articles about the building. (Link below.)
  • NYC DOB keeps physical floor plans for some buildings. (Link below.)


The NYC Department of Buildings keeps records on every commercial and residential building in the five boroughs. Newer documents are digitized and can be viewed online. Search by address (or block and lot) and find:

  • Certificates of Occupancy with info on classifications, number of floors, and use
  • Construction, engineering, and inspection filings

Books on NYC Architecture