March 2018

Does It Matter?

by Don Friedman on March 31, 2018

That masonry is at least 165 years old and no older than 203 years. In terms of structural capacity and condition, I’m not sure I really care where it is within that range.

Maybe It’s Okay

March 30, 2018

Almost anything taken to an extreme is bad. If we say every building is worthy of preservation, then we condemn the centers of our cities to obsolescence as all development is forced elsewhere; if we say nothing is, then we lose the physical presence of our past. This is not a particularly deep thought, but […]

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No Expiration Date

March 29, 2018

This is the third and last post on what I called a “rather boring” building. That very geometric picture is a roll-down door on the left, a pier in the middle, and a window on the right. Here’s the thing that caught my eye: That’s a cast-iron column, rectangular in cross-section, with openings on the […]

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Visually Identical

March 28, 2018

Same building as yesterday, this time we’re in the basement. There’s no cellar below, so I was standing on a slab on grade when I took the picture. The centerline columns end in rather large brackets. (Click on the picture to enlarge it.) There are plates riveted to the column flanges, and the plates are […]

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Different Logic For Different Elements

March 27, 2018

Those are two views of the same rather boring industrial building in the Bronx, built in the first half of the twentieth century. The exterior walls are solid brick, with a reasonably nice hard-burned face brick as the outer wythe; the floors are very heavy wood joists supporting a wood plank subfloor. It’s a long, […]

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Filling In The Gaps

March 26, 2018

That’s a new building under construction on lower Sixth Avenue, in Tribeca. If you look closely, you’ll see that it consists of two wings, one running off the edge of the picture to the right, and the other from the mid-left to about where the taxi is. The wings will be barely connected, if at […]

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In The Background

March 25, 2018

That’s an old picture of Union Square I came across while doing some research. There are several reasonably famous buildings on the left, along Union Square West. Looking closely, I realized that you can also see the Jackson Building – less famous and long gone – on 17th Street. You never know what you’ll find […]

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When Technology Fails

March 24, 2018

It’s possible that the weather app on my phone was incorrect on Thursday morning. Click to enlarge and shake your head sadly.

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Beautiful and Oddly Located

March 23, 2018

We now interrupt our regularly-scheduled blogging for today’s extra post. A sharp-eyed reader – Patrick Sparks – noted the good-looking building almost under the Queensboro Bridge. The picture above is a cropped and expanded version of one of the pictures from yesterday, showing the building in question and a bit of its context. The bridge […]

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Sometimes An Ugly Duckling Becomes An Ugly Duck

March 22, 2018

For a long time, most of New York’s waterfront was industrial. Some still is: that’s Long Island City in the picture above, a stone’s throw from the East River but somehow ungentrified. In the background on the right is the Queensboro Bridge. It’s a cantilever truss with three unequal spans: over the east channel of […]

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