The dates on top of old New York buildings

It’s lovely to look up at the top of a residence, church, or factory and see the year the structure went up in bold numerals.

Too bad developers no longer date their buildings—it helps give a sense of how the city evolved.

I love the style of the “1891” on top of 451 Washington Street. Now it’s a co-op, but it started out as the Fleming Smith Warehouse, where wine was stored.

This handsome clock tower crowns the former Sohmer Piano Factory on Vernon Boulevard in Long Island City. Built in 1886, the company stayed there almost a century, decamping for Connecticut in 1982.

“Established 1890” this Hell’s Kitchen tenement tells us. But what was established—just the building? Or a specialty business? No clues survive.

The Esther Apartments at 126 Ludlow Street date to 1930. I guess the faux Hebrew lettering helped attract renters in a heavily Jewish neighborhood?

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5 Responses to “The dates on top of old New York buildings”

  1. petey Says:

    mine says ‘1883’

  2. Dave Says:

    Thanks for this post. I’ve been waiting for this one! I’m always looking up for dates at the top of old buildings.

  3. wildnewyork Says:

    I know–I was waiting for the right time. Thanks for suggesting it!

  4. Phil Says:

    There’s a dated building on the south bound FDR just before the Brooklyn Bridge exit. Any info on that one?

  5. wildnewyork Says:

    I don’t drive or take taxis often, so I don’t know the building you’re talking about on the FDR. If you find or take a photo I can try to try its background.

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