Posts Tagged ‘Queen Anne houses New York’

Holdout buildings that refused the wrecking ball

March 12, 2012

You see them all over New York streets: two, three, even four-story tenements or townhouses that stayed put while bigger, grander, and wealthier buildings went up around them.

The back story isn’t always clear, but it’s safe to assume that the developers on either side would have paid a nice price for the right to knock these little holdouts down.

But they wouldn’t budge—and today, they stand out size-wise and architecturally. And New York is a more diverse city because of them.

One of my favorites is this slender Gothic-inspired townhouse on the Upper West Side (above), flanked by massive prewar apartment buildings up and down the block.

Another good one is on Eighth Avenue around 40th Street. The squat three-story building with the porn shop on the ground floor (above) is like a middle finger to the developers.

In Murray Hill on East 35th Street is this lime-colored Victorian-era townhouse (right). You can just imagine that the entire block was probably once dotted with identical structures.

Now, it’s the lone survivor, with a red-brick apartment residence crowding it out on one side and an academic building belonging to Yeshiva University on the other.

This Queen Anne house in Washington Heights isn’t as squished in as the other buildings. But it’s still a holdout.

Now a church, its existence prevented builders from putting up yet another tenement or dull apartment building, and it serves as a reminder of a time when even Manhattan had detached houses on its streets.

Here’s the story of a little-known but very recognizable holdout building in the middle of Macy’s.