Last night, I passed the real thing, designed by James Polshek and built in 2000. Since my camera's been taking decent night photos - like the ones I took during the Wolf Moon - I thought I would post this.
Polshek says his intention was to build a 'cosmic cathedral.' I'd say he succeeded. Last night it was particularly beautiful, the orb glowing blue in the snowy park that surrounds it. What's more, the planetarium doesn't mar the integrity of the adjacent building, which houses the rest of the American Museum of Natural History. When you encounter the original structure on Central Park West, built by Jacob Wrey Mould and Central Park architect Calvert Vaux, you don't really notice Polshek's addition*, nor the marked contrast of the 133 years that separate the structures. It's not until you turn the corner on 81st Street that you are wowed by Polshek's design.