Manhattan’s lonely little holdout buildings

These walkups were once the sought-after modern buildings of the block.

Now, they’re the holdouts—sometimes well-kept, often shabby reminders of an earlier New York that refuse to bow to the wrecking ball.


Without these low-rise survivors, many more city streets would be a boring canyon of uniform buildings.

The two tenement holdouts in the top photo, on West 36th Street, have had their side exteriors raked over by developers. Yet these 19th century stalwarts refuse to go.


Nestled between two limestone apartment houses is this Upper Fifth Avenue beauty, holding its own across the street from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


On Eighth Avenue at 39th Street is this blue former townhouse, now a commercial building. It makes the block resemble a gap-tooth smile.


This three-story sliver on lower Seventh Avenue in Chelsea is a bit of a mystery. It’s architecturally the same as the building next door, which houses the Rubin Museum.

Yet it’s painted the same color as the former Loehmann’s store on the other side, being renovated into Barneys once again.

Check out more holdout buildings here, and of course, the most famous of all the holdouts—the one in the middle of Macy’s.

Tags: , , , , , ,

8 Responses to “Manhattan’s lonely little holdout buildings”

  1. penelopebianchi Says:

    During the one year I lived in NYC; PJ Clarke’s was in a “holdout” building! I think it is still there?? My favorite! I hope so! I am coming in two weeks!



  2. justme3362 Says:

    These are great!

  3. Christopher Says:

    The Rubn’s building was Barney’s to begin with. Not sure the history of the middle building but maybe built to connect the two buildings as Barney’s expanded and before they moved to 5th.

  4. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Interesting. This one needs to be looked into….

  5. Jeff Says:

    Here’s another building sandwich on the UWS (72nd & West End):,-73.984832,3a,90y,301.26h,101.78t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1s2QCWdlpi7eblW1igIxlYKQ!2e0

  6. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Love it, thanks!

  7. Artsink Says:

    Sometimes these buildings are left to guarantee the neighboring high rise has light and air, and owned by that high rise.

  8. NAtive Says:

    The blue building is not 8th and 39th, it’s 7th and 40th. I know this because I’m a New Yorker and, well, the street sign that is in the picture.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: