Ghostly outlines of the city’s vanished buildings

Once, they served as homes, shops, and offices for an older New York.

Now, they no longer exist—the only trace left behind are faded impressions where each building once stood. These haunting outlines will also vanish soon, covered up by the new office tower or co-op and erased from the city’s memory forever.


I often pass by the long-empty parking lot at Sixth Avenue and 17th Street and wonder about the low-rise tenement that is no longer there. I always liked what looks like a little chimney outline in the center.


At Lexington Avenue and 56th Street is an odd-shaped building—another tenement?

Makes sense; this was once a neighborhood of belching factories on or near the East River and the houses of people who worked in them.


Check out the impression of a jagged roof left on a taller building on Lafayette Street. I would have loved to have seen it in person.


Chimney outlines are always enchanting. Who occupied this gone-forever little house on West 30th Street, and what were their stories?

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9 Responses to “Ghostly outlines of the city’s vanished buildings”

  1. DP Says:

    I also love when you can see the old staircases as shadows on the walls.

  2. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Me too. I also love room outlines; you can really imagine the space as someone’s apartment.

  3. Newport Carl Says:

    Beautiful… I just love your stuff. Thank you

  4. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Thank you!

  5. Gofannon Le Boutillier Says:

    This is my favourite blog! So interesting and well researched. Thanks!

  6. ephemeralnewyork Says:


  7. manhattan resident Says:

    Always interesting reading…

  8. Ghostly outlines of vanished city buildings | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] sometimes, a building or house disappears without a backstory or even an address. It simply leaves behind a faded outline of what once was, and we’re left to […]

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