Until 2008, 13th Street just off of Sixth Avenue was the site of a hidden gem: a Federal style backhouse reportedly dating to the 1790s.
The two-story house wasn’t visible from the street but was located behind a low-rise building housing two restaurants at 52 and 54 West 13th Street.
Then a hotel developer came and bought the low-rise building. It met the wrecking ball, and for a little while in 2009, the backhouse could be seen through a construction fence. Here’s a closeup view.
Not long after, unfortunately, the 16-story hotel slowly rose in front of it, entombing the backhouse out of sight forever.
If it’s still standing, that is. I have no idea if the hotel developer turned it into a pile of bricks, seeing no use or value in the squat, rundown building.
Or maybe the backhouse remains there, blocked off out of view of passersby, and only future guests of what will be called the Gem Hotel Union Square (above) will ever be able to see it again.
Tags: 52 West 13th Street NYC, backhouse on 13th Street, federal-style backhouse, Gem Hotel Union Square, Greenwich Village backhouse, New York City backhouse, oldest house in West Village, West Village backhouses, West Village street