New York

No, Not The Famous One

A little more historical research, although it’s very easy when someone else has already done the hard work. Click to enlarge: That’s the front step of a loft building downtown. The step is made of the same kind of cast-iron plate with glass inserts used for vault lights – and indeed, originally used at this …

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History On Foot

A great read from Curbed, describing several not-so-great but historic reads. In short, tourist guides are not new, and why shouldn’t we be able to take a 150-year-old walking tour? Some of the highlights of the main route are mapped here. I don’t know that there’s much to be learned for Manhattan aficionados by reading James …

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The 1916 Zoning Law

It’s the hundredth anniversary of New York’s first real zoning law and there have been some good write-ups, for example in the Times and on Curbed. David Dunlap’s article in the Times is absolutely right that the typical story of the zoning law is oversimplified, but I want to take that idea in a different …

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New York and Energy

The short version of energy use in New York City is a bit confused: lighting buildings at night and air-conditioning everything in sight seems wasteful, while the apartment- and transit-heavy nature of the city saves a lot of energy over the more typical American pattern of single-family homes and car transport. The long version is …

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History In Strange Places

[Click to enlarge.] The plaque is in the 157th Street station on the 1 train. This station was constructed and opened before 1907, although that plaque probably came somewhat later. The text it too short to include all of the mansion’s history: it is linked to the Morris and Philipse families, two of the eighteenth-century …

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