Mechanical Systems

An Inappropriate Quote

That’s the machine room for the very old elevator in an even older building. The building is an 1880s rowhouse on the Upper West Side converted to commercial use; the elevator was, I think, installed around 1910. Note “Up” and (faded) “Down” over the two things (switches, I think) at the top of the panel. …

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Woolworth: Travel

Obviously I picked that picture above, from the beginning of Master Builders, because it’s pretty. Beyond that, in emphasizing the Woolworth’s building height, it points up a big issue for skyscrapers, then and now: how do you get people to the upper floors fast enough that they’ll be willing to rent up there? The copy …

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Transition to Ghost

I’ve put up a lot of posts here about building ghosts, the visible marks left by now-demolished buildings on their neighbors. Today’s photos, sent to me by a friend of the blog, show a specific moment in transition. The overall view above, shows the general situation for all building ghosts: the 1920s or 30s building …

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Construction History: Summer In The City

I’ve used the picture above before, in discussing the Gillender Buidling, the remarkably slender skyscraper in the middle of the frame. But there’s a detail there that gives a window into the past and perhaps makes a point about the future: the window canopies. Not only are there canopies on the older low-rise office buildings, …

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