Cast Iron

The Tell-Tale Heart On Nassau Street

Nassau Street is, even by the standards of lower Manhattan, narrow and crooked. Probably for that reason, a lot of old and small buildings have survived there. The building on the right, number 122, is a good example of such a survivor, with some moss on the brick above the storefront’s cornice, and steel plates …

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Historic Structural Detail: Iron and Wood

That beautiful girder-to-column connection is in an 1870s warehouse in the Bronx. The basics of it are quite simple: the two spans of girder are connected with a scarf joint, and sit on a cast-iron shoe that caps the column below. First off, there’s an interesting contrast here between the pre-fab, bulk-manufactured iron shoe and …

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Not Broken But Odd

The good news is that column isn’t broken. What appears to be a jagged break line running diagonally across is actually the border between where the old paint was removed prior to the last painting (bottom) and where all of the various coats of paint going back to 1905 are still present (top). It’s not …

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Three Eras Overlaid

That’s a picture of the cellar of a small commercial building in midtown, taken during a fairly extensive renovation in the 1990s. The metal framing is original, and consists of a round cast-iron column with a cast-iron base plate with vertical stiffeners (the spider-looking thing directly above the spray-painted X), a steel beam just inboard …

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A Fake of a Fake Is Almost Real

I took that picture in 1998 for some reason I don’t remember. It’s the top of 48 White Street, the center section of a triple-wide loft building completed in 1867. It’s now part of the Tribeca East Historic District, but there are some peculiar things going on here. First, despite its use and construction date, …

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