Faded outlines of long-gone Manhattan buildings

Ghostbuildingwest30sSigns for long-departed stores, retaining walls no longer in use, trolley tracks peeking out from asphalt streets: New York’s past leaves its imprint everywhere.

The sides of buildings give us glimpses of the city’s history too. The faded outlines of tenements and other buildings long gone often remain, at least until new construction comes along and obscures them again.

On a lonely block in the far West 30s is this classic city walkup, with a roof on a slant–a modest place to make a home in what was once a modest neighborhood.


Hebrew Union College put up this building in 1979, at Mercer and West 4th Streets, almost covering the two chimneys from the building that previously occupied the spot. A tenement perhaps?


Considering the pace of construction in a luxury-building crazed New York, these remains of a 43rd Street walkup might already be sealed out of view.


Same with this former home—maybe a brownstone?—on 86th Street, on a stately block near Fifth Avenue.


Also in the far West 30s near the Javits Center is this outline of a humble tenement on the side of another humble tenement, the people who once lived and worked there and their stories lost to the ages.

More faded building outlines—dormer windows too!—can be seen here.

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

  1. Kevin P. Says:

    If you’re using the new Google Maps (as opposed to to the “classic” version), you can bring up historical Street View imagery. The two buildings at 58 and 60 East 86th Streets were torn down sometime between September 2013 and May 2014. Here’s a screenshot from when they still stood:

  2. vadare1 Says:

    Fascinating. It’s like looking at negative space.

  3. Rogier Mentink Says:

    Great photos, love it!

  4. Walk About New York Says:

    Very cool observations. I like these faded outlines as much as the ghost ads on the sides of NYC buildings.

  5. patricia williams Says:

    any information on 62 east 55st…torn down to make way for 60 east 55 st
    original home of Kreinick Gowns formerly of 3 other locations,
    131 w45 st….2627 bway and 2026 7th ave

  6. Doug Says:

    These are my favorite types of posts you do. So interesting to see.

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