New York

Nothing Is Easy

270 Park Avenue, a late-1950s skyscraper, is currently being demolished. The picture above shows the south side of the building at street level. Those two sentences are just about the only thing that I can say that are undisputed fact, as everything else on this topic is either politically and architecturally fraught or is speculation …

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All In Where You Look

The combination of a rectangular grid of relatively narrow streets and tall buildings produces some weird effects. For example, it’s much easier to see what’s around you from a distance than from up close. The picture above is East 33rd Street. A bunch of loft buildings of various types, right? Look up a bit… Hey! …

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The Ugly Process

When I talked about the fake streets shown around the old reservoir, I gave a short description of how New York handled horizontal growth in the 1800s. Streets were first “mapped,” then “opened,” then “worked.” Most of the mapping took place early. The theoretical map was first publicly available as the Commissioners’ Plan as of …

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This is my last post on F. B. Tower’s 1843 book about the Croton system. The three big aqueducts that provide New York’s water today – known as the “water tunnels” – are quite deep underground. The original Croton aqueduct was not: the engineers basically drew a line of constant slope from the dam on …

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