Posts Tagged ‘Chelsea Brownstones 19th Century’

An unusual boot scraper in front of a Chelsea brownstone

May 8, 2023

Ephemeral New York readers know that this site has a fascination with boot scrapers—those iron blades on front stoops that allowed gentlemen to scrape the mud and dirt off their shoes before they entered a well-tended home.

New York City’s thousands of brownstones and townhouses often still have these sanitary necessities inside the wrought-iron railing or front-yard iron decorative fence. Sometimes they’re embellished; typically they are simple, functional, and meant to be discreet.

But while walking down a street of mid-19th century brownstones in Chelsea recently, I came across a boot scraper that wasn’t part of a fence or railing. It sat somewhat orphaned a bit away from the stoop and in front of a wrought-iron fence.

The boot scraper looked more weathered than the fence and stoop railing, and it doesn’t match either one the way most boot scraper do.

Could it predate the house it currently sits in front of and instead belong to an older home long vanished from Chelsea’s streetscape? I wish there was a way to know how long this boot scraper has been scraping the boots of New Yorkers.