Brick and mortar phantoms of another Manhattan

Every year this site does a roundup of ghost buildings—the faded outlines of chimneys, flat or peaked roofs, windows, and staircases that were left behind after a demolition and look like apparitions of New York’s low-rise, walkup past.

They’re spooky reminders of a different city and often easy to see, like this one in Upper First Avenue, probably a four-story tenement, painted in orange. And could that be a second ghost building behind it, a little taller faded in white?

This one is another double ghost building on 44th Street toward Midtown. In red is a peaked roof building, and then one in white a story or two taller.

Here’s an unusual phantom building, looks like two chimneys and a rooftop stairwell exit. It’s on Madison Avenue at about 80th Street, soon to be shrouded forever behind a luxury apartment residence.

Some ghost buildings look like they were violently ripped from their neighbor, like this one on East 47th Street. Are we left behind with an impression of the structural elements that held the building up—or were they added after the building was demolished to help stabilize the one left behind?

Here you can see the stairways, where New Yorkers of days past walked up and down countless times.

Short and square, this one on the Upper East Side doesn’t look like much. But it was home to someone, or some business, and at one time and likely outshined its neighbors back when it was the new kid on the block a century or so ago.

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3 Responses to “Brick and mortar phantoms of another Manhattan”

  1. Bob Says:

    Re: the “one on East 47th Street”

    Those steel pieces are not “the structural elements that held the building up and made it a place to live and work for generations.”

    Those pieces were more likely installed to stabilize the existing building from shifting or its outer wall from leaning and dropping its floor beams after its neighbor was demolished. The horizontal walers and angled wall ties are installed to brace the floor beams at each floor to the exterior brick wall for added structural support and connection of the entire system.

    • ephemeralnewyork Says:

      Thank you Bob—I will amend the post. As you can guess construction is something I don’t know much about!

  2. Chester Says:

    I recall having seen such ghosts, where old hearths were clearly visible, and patches of old wallpaper and paint separated rooms or apartments. Even some moderate wall moldings offered a glimpse of old faux panelling.

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