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The Block
November 15, 2009 2:29 PM   Subscribe

History of a New York Block. A nearly complete record of the life cycle of Eldridge St between Stanton/Rivington. Click on the buildings for details.

via Gothamist.

Reminded me of Zwigoff's Crumb.
posted by minkll (21 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
Holy crap this is incredibly awesome. I am such an enormous fucking dork for NYC history.
posted by elizardbits at 2:35 PM on November 15, 2009


This is amazing. I lived for several years on the corner of Delancey and Eldridge, and passed through this block hundreds of times.
posted by saladin at 2:42 PM on November 15, 2009


I'm certain the new buildings have much nicer amenities, but holy tapdancing christ they are ugly. Why and when did we stop putting nice decorative touches on our buildings, anyway?
posted by dunkadunc at 2:52 PM on November 15, 2009


Very cool. I love urban history and archaeology. I really love it when you see a single 18th or 19th century building surviving within blocks of modern 20th century.
posted by octothorpe at 2:55 PM on November 15, 2009


Google Street View of the block in question.
posted by dunkadunc at 2:55 PM on November 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


The boarded up windows were a nice touch.
posted by Corduroy at 2:56 PM on November 15, 2009


What a bummer twist ending.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 3:14 PM on November 15, 2009


This is terrific. My desktop wallpaper at work is a late 19th-century photo of the Old State House, which is not far from where I work, but everything is so utterly changed that I spend ages thinking about what must have stood where, and how I could observe it. You can't even stand in the same place the photographer must have stood -- not without getting run over, anyway.

If I could have a superpower, it would be that I could touch a building, shut my eyes, and immediately see what only ages in a registry of deeds or a photographic archive can show you now. Not that there's any call for that kind of superpower. Not even one of the lamer X-Men does that.
posted by Countess Elena at 3:16 PM on November 15, 2009 [6 favorites]


Fantastic. Now can they do it for the whole city?
posted by languagehat at 3:20 PM on November 15, 2009


Ok, seriously, that's one of the cooler things I've seen on the internet in a while.
posted by craichead at 3:34 PM on November 15, 2009


Hey, I'm the one that made that. Thanks for the link!

I'll get to the other 50 billion blocks next week.
posted by zvs at 3:57 PM on November 15, 2009 [13 favorites]


Also, that Crumb comic actually was part of what inspired it. Read it when the big book came out a couple years go.
posted by zvs at 3:57 PM on November 15, 2009


One of the best things about the magic internet machine is that people do this kind of thing. I have been to New York City maybe half a dozen times in my life and never to this block, but I could (and will) happily read every word about the history of this block in the linked site.

I was thinking a while ago that Google Maps Street View is the first baby steps towards a Star Trek-style holodeck. I speculated aloud to a friend that perhaps in a decade or two Street View will have incorporated historical photos as well, so you could take a virtual stroll around 1889 Times Square or 1962 Piccadilly Circus. It occurred to me just yesterday that my eighteen-month old nephew will be able in twenty years to take a visual tour of his hometown the way it looked when he was born. I would love to be able to do that myself.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:07 PM on November 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


That is awesome, zvs! What a fun project.

Doing chain-of-title searches and figuring out how the land use changed over time was always my favorite part of urban archeology back when I did CRM work.
posted by gemmy at 6:09 PM on November 15, 2009


+5 on nice use of JavaScript.
posted by geoff. at 6:20 PM on November 15, 2009


@Countess Elena - I'm guessing that you'll be able to do that with "augmented reality" gear in 5 or 10 years.

It should be cool being able to walk all around a city and immediately find out the story of that part of town. And no doubt most blocks like will suddenly have a block historian for the first time ever.

Great business op there somewhere.
posted by Twang at 10:04 PM on November 15, 2009


Timelapse cityscapes being close to my heart, I can't help but utterly love this. Excellent work!
posted by otherthings_ at 10:24 PM on November 15, 2009


Why and when did we stop putting nice decorative touches on our buildings, anyway?

Why: Because it's way, way more expensive.

When: Around the time it got way more expensive (~WW1).
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:22 AM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


I speculated aloud to a friend that perhaps in a decade or two Street View will have incorporated historical photos as well

Just want to add that I predicted that a last year. And actually, about five years before to my friend who's a P.M. at Google. Though I'm sure of two things:
  1. Someone at Google Maps probably thought of this on Day 2 of development.
  2. I will never get credit for any of my brilliant ideas, ever.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:34 AM on November 16, 2009


<3 this so much
posted by grubi at 6:23 AM on November 16, 2009


This is pretty cool. Made it all the way to the end before I realized, hey, I know where that is. Just a block South of bOb.


I'm certain the new buildings have much nicer amenities, but holy tapdancing christ they are ugly. Why and when did we stop putting nice decorative touches on our buildings, anyway?

Probably when we started building housing specifically for low to moderate income households. Having been to the neighborhood, I'm betting that's what this is.
posted by hue at 7:16 AM on November 16, 2009


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