The historic blocks of New York


One of the things I most love about New York is that it’s got such a deep and vibrant history. Since it was founded, this city has been an interesting place, and a difficult place, and (for some) a hugely privileged place, and a place with quite possibly an inflated idea of its own importance.

New York is good at holding onto its history. Some cities tear it down every chance they get, but New York exalts in it. The New York Times has a column every weekend called Streetscapes, in which they share the history of a place in the city – and often the photos, even the oldest, don’t differ all that much from what is currently there. Apparently the landmark committee can be a bit of a nightmare for those who own, when it comes to things like facades and roof repair and even (apparently – I don’t personally know anyone who has been affected by this) internal renovations and modifications, but I, at least, appreciate their vigilance.


You can tell a protected historic block by the street sign. Usually the street signs in New York are green, but sometimes you’ll come across something that looks like this:

DSC00437 1

And if you do I can highly recommend taking a small detour. I still do this, even after nearly six months on the Upper West Side, which is positively littered with them.  It’s so very worth it! I consider myself insanely lucky to have the chance to soak this all up, each and every day.

2 thoughts on “The historic blocks of New York

  1. Unfortunately Hayley, not much has changed in Auckland – see article below about the ‘surprise’ collapse of the 1886 B-Listed Palace Hotel (formerly Aurora) in Victoria Street a couple of years ago. The owners are now in the process of going through council to get a 15 storey building on the site – apparently this building will be an asset to the city including the plans for a high quality brothel in it (spot the oxymoron…!)


    1. I remember when that happened – and being very unimpressed at the time – disgusting! Can’t believe the owners are allowed to touch it after the controversy around that. So sad. Auckland really needs to preserve some of its history properly, because you can’t just get that back once it’s gone.


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