A modern facade hides a 19th century building

Paint, glass, brick face—there are lots of ways to cover up the original facade of an old city building and give it a more modern spin.


But sometimes a piece of the old structure ends up peeking through, or it’s impossible to cover it up completely. That appears to be the case with 18 East 14th Street, between Fifth Avenue and University Place.

The second through fifth floors are covered in what looks like 20th century brick face. The sixth floor, though, has the facade of an older turn-of-the-century building, with oval windows similar to its neighbor on the right and 19th century-era decorative touches.


Was this structure really built in 1930, as Streeteasy states? Looks more like it belongs to the bustling 14th Street of streetcars, department stores, piano showrooms, and elevated train stations.

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5 Responses to “A modern facade hides a 19th century building”

  1. Benjamin Feldman Says:

    Eagle eye ! Have you found a picture of the building before it was hideously de(re)faced ? I’d be fascinated by same

  2. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    I wish! I looked through various photo databases and couldn’t find one, unfortunately.

  3. GhostBikeCollector Says:

    Streeteasy, like most other sites, probably used information from DOB. If DOB doesn’t have an exact date of construction, it will indicate some specious date such as 1899, 1920 or in this example, 1931. The best way to get a more accurate date is to check old fire insurance, topographical and property maps. Besides, the visible details along the top definitely look like late 19th century. You can compare it to other structures from that time period and make a fairly good guesstimate as to the actual age of this building.

  4. trilby1895 Says:

    I really HATE those who cover up our beautiful old buildings but even more, HATE those who destroy them in order to construct some glaringly ugly new “moneymaker”. Case in point; the old Tiffany building on the west side of Union Square Park…completely “renovated” and hideous.

  5. Ryan Phillips Says:

    There’s also a cat in that window.

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