Posts Tagged ‘faded building outlines’

Ghost buildings standing out in the desolate city

April 13, 2020

There’s something about New York right now, with its (mostly) emptied streets and deserted sidewalks, that makes the phantom buildings of an earlier Gotham come out of hiding.

You know these phantom tenements and walkups—their faded outlines tend to reappear at construction sites, giving us a glimpse of the low-rise city of another era.

Sometimes they’re a longtime ghostly imprint overlooking the empty lot left behind when the building was torn down—like the one above on East 45th Street, with its distinctive chimney.

This one above, on Lafayette Street, is another unusual one, perhaps it’s the ghost of a Federal-style house from the first half of the 19th century, when many of these little homes were built (and still survive) in Lower Manhattan.

Here’s another stubby building at the corner of Lafayette and Bleecker, its chimney just visible against the lovely and much taller Bayard-Condict Building, constructed in 1899.

What will take the place of this low-rise walkup on York Avenue and 86th Street, old enough to have been dwarfed by century-old tenements?

This phantom building down at Hudson Yards might be gone by now. The building it left its outline on may have met the bulldozer, or a shiny new tower is obscuring it once again.

The slight slope to the top floor of this outline makes me think it was once a stylish brownstone or rowhouse, probably one in a group built in the late 19th century on a block in Midtown East.

Finally, on East 57th Street is this little guy, likely a 19th century apparition clinging to a more modern apartment building while haunting the bright busy Whole Foods at street level.

New York is a brick and mason wall ghost town

January 18, 2016

The construction boom across the city has this upside: after an old building has been flattened by the wrecking ball, its faded outline remains behind for a little while, before something new and shiny covers it up.

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These building phantoms give city streets an eerie vibe; they’re red brick and mason wall palimpsests of another New York. Look at the little chimneys that warmed what looks like a former Federal-style home on Bond Street?

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In Downtown Brooklyn, traces of a two-story tenement on the right hint at what kind of residences lined the streets of the independent city in the 19th century.

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On East 17th Street in is a reminder of what this Flatiron block looked like when it was all low-rises, not tall lofts.

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This corner building in Chelsea must have cut a handsome, sturdy profile. The rooms of the second floor are still outlined too.

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Back when Jane Street was just a tiny lane in the village of Greenwich, there was a little house under this steep little roof.

Ghostly reminders of New York’s old buildings

June 12, 2014

Every building in New York has a story—even the ones that no longer exist, except as phantom remnants of an older, forgotten city.

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I’m drawn to the faded outline of this little walkup in Chelsea. Once pressed against the side of a grand turn of the century warehouse or department store, it hung on for years, crooked and stooped.

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I don’t know when this building, a perfect square with a tall chimney on East 31st Street, met the bulldozer. But I love that it refuses to be erased from the block.

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This Allen Street tenement reveals the remains of maybe three separate smaller structures, probably taken down at different times.

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How many people once lived and worked in this squat building in the West 40s, and what did they see when they looked out their windows? I wonder if they would recognize the cityscape of today.

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On the side of a brownstone in the East 20s are at least two building impressions—two layers of another New York.

Check out more phantom buildings and their remains here.

Faded outlines of phantom Manhattan buildings

August 6, 2012

Many of these ghost buildings, remnants from an older New York, are visible for just a short period of time—between the bulldozing of the old structure and the construction of a new one.

One that’s been viewable for at least a couple of years now is this sloped-roof house on Eighth Avenue in the 40s.

The best part is the faded ad above it, actually one ad for a cheap hotel superimposed over an older one advertising cigars.

Here’s another, with construction boards in place, near East 50th Street.

The painted rooms where people once lived their lives and the staircase they went up and down thousands of times are eerily outlined.

What kind of home was here once, on Riverside Drive around 100th Street? Maybe a stable or two-story house, with a little chimney sticking up.

This building near the South Street Seaport reveals a phantom outline, plus ghostly 18th-century looking windows and a tall ghost chimney.