Posts Tagged ‘Faded outlines old buildings’

The brick and mortar ghosts all over Manhattan

January 16, 2017

The history of New York City is written on its walls—the walls of apartment houses and commercial buildings still standing, bearing the faded outline of those that met the bulldozer long ago.


These phantom buildings are on every block (above, Fourth Avenue and 1oth Street), especially in today’s city with its constant renovation and rebuilding—what Walt Whitman called “knock down and pull over again spirit.”


The roofs of these faded ghosts are often slanted and peaked—hints that a Federal-style house or stable once existed there. I’m guessing this outline on 11th Avenue in the west 20s, above, was a stable.


Many of the outlines resemble the shells of tenements. This phantom at Rector Street, above, is likely all that remains of an anonymous tenement where generations of New Yorkers lived and raised families.


The ghost building on Great Jones Street near Lafayette Street above, with what appears to be the outline of three chimneys, looks too short to be a tenement. Probably just a walk-up with a couple of flats per floor.


The painted-white outline here on Third Avenue in Gramercy could have been a single family home, similar to the one on the left side of the photo hidden behind scaffolding.


On West 57th Street a lonely tenement bears the remains of its neighbor, which had what looks like a central chimney or rooftop exit door.


Is this the ghost of another stable or carriage house? It’s on the far West Side around 42nd Street, where the city’s last remaining working stables are.

Ghostly outlines of the city’s vanished buildings

July 29, 2013

Once, they served as homes, shops, and offices for an older New York.

Now, they no longer exist—the only trace left behind are faded impressions where each building once stood. These haunting outlines will also vanish soon, covered up by the new office tower or co-op and erased from the city’s memory forever.


I often pass by the long-empty parking lot at Sixth Avenue and 17th Street and wonder about the low-rise tenement that is no longer there. I always liked what looks like a little chimney outline in the center.


At Lexington Avenue and 56th Street is an odd-shaped building—another tenement?

Makes sense; this was once a neighborhood of belching factories on or near the East River and the houses of people who worked in them.


Check out the impression of a jagged roof left on a taller building on Lafayette Street. I would have loved to have seen it in person.


Chimney outlines are always enchanting. Who occupied this gone-forever little house on West 30th Street, and what were their stories?