Spooky outlines of long-gone Manhattan buildings

New and old New York collide on the sides of buildings all over the city. Sometimes the faded pattern of a dormer window or chimney is visible for years, other times just a days before developers cover these remnants forever.

The building that once stood here on the corner of Greenwich and Vestry Streets in Tribeca, below, doesn’t look fancy. It was probably just a regular walk-up with six or eight apartments in what had been a neighborhood of light industry for most of the 20th century.

But it sure left a formidable impression.


I love the sloping roof on this long-gone building on Washington Place in the Meatpacking District, below. Was it a garage? Warehouse? Meat packager?


I have no idea when it went down, but it’s being obliterated forever in favor of another restaurant or boutique or luxury hotel.


On 31st Street near Fifth Avenue is the imprint of a sturdy chimney and a roof on a slight incline. A coat of paint almost covers most of it up, but a sliver remains of what was once someone’s home.


The best thing about this bulldozed building on East 29th Street? The phantom smoke coming out of the pattern of a chimney!

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6 Responses to “Spooky outlines of long-gone Manhattan buildings”

  1. Lady G. Says:

    Now I will have to keep my eyes open for these when out and about in Manhattan. I love this! Thanks.

  2. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Once you start spotting them, you see them everywhere.

  3. Richard Kenyon Says:

    Mu guess is that the second picture, with the pitched roof, was a two story house many years ago, with a larger commercial building erected in what was the front yard and grafted onto the original residence.

  4. mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

    When I lived on 13th Street there was an outline clinging to the back wall of an old building still etched into a newer one, though the new one was many years older than mine was. At certain angles I’m sure it was the image of a girl combing her hair but who knows? Still, I’m sure she was lovely and cute many, many decades ago. Maybe she smiled? I sure hope so. Ah, the passage of time…

  5. gimelgort Says:

    What’s going on on the right hand side of the last pic? Christo?

  6. Ghostly outlines of the city’s vanished buildings | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] they no longer exist—the only trace left behind are ghostly impressions where each building once stood. These haunting outlines will also vanish soon, covered up by the new office tower or co-op and […]

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