Figure: Height Cycles in New York, 1890 to 2014.
The top graph shows the total additions to the skyline each year in feet. Note that I only include buildings that I define as a skyscraper, which is a structure that is 295 feet or taller, regardless of use. Note how total height moves in waves that average about 15 to 20 years. Since the birth of the skyscraper, there have been five distinct waves. This bottom shows the height of the tallest building completed each year (in feet). During depression years, for example, the tallest building may be only at 50 feet, while during heady times, buildings can be taller than 1000 feet. Since 1890, there have been only five major skyscraper construction cycles.