NYC Grid is a photo blog dedicated to exploring New York block-by-block and corner-by-corner. Each post covers a new street or feature with a focus on the mundane and ephemeral.

  

Monday
Jan272014

Before & After - Mott Street & Bowery

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The above photo is interactive. Drag the yellow handle in the middle to reveal more or less of the before or after image.

In the course of this Before & After project, I've had the opportunity to capture this section of Mott Street twice. The original post featured a "Before" photo dating all the way back to the turn of the last century. This most recent entry splits the difference; dating from the late 1960s. In the original post, I commented how little the street had changed in over 100 years, and this latest "Before" photo offers us the opportunity to observe the gradual evolution.

Previously I had posted a 3-era-view of City Hall that showed a similar evolution over 3 different decades.

Photo source: Tom Riggle, Flickr

Wednesday
Jan082014

Before & After - Delancey Street

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The above photo is interactive. Drag the yellow handle in the middle to reveal more or less of the before or after image. Alternatively, you can simply click anywhere on the image to move the slider automatically.

Destined to undergo seismic changes over the next few decades, Delancey Street is apparently one of the last streets in lower Manhattan to be discovered by developers. With a direct link to Brooklyn over the Williamsburg Bridge, it's rather surprising that Delancey has maintained its state for as long as it has.

Photo source: Tom Riggle, Flickr

Monday
Jan062014

Before & After - Bowling Green (Again!)

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The above photo is interactive. Drag the yellow handle in the middle to reveal more or less of the before or after image. Alternatively, you can simply click anywhere on the image to move the slider automatically.

Bowling Green was previously featured on Before & After in August

A site of frequent change, the streets surrounding Bowling Green rarely go a decade without some new feature being brought in. For example, recent years have seen a new subway entrance and the addition of CitiBike racks. Looking closely at the sidewalks, it also appears that they've reduced the width of the streets adding more room for pedestrians.

These were all things I noticed as I attempted to re-shoot today's photo. The presence of a fire hydrant and numerous lampposts, to say nothing of the surrounding buildings, should have made this an easy spot to pinpoint since those features rarely change over decades. Unfortunately my confidence was shaken by the aforementioned modifications to the area, and I was getting mixed signals from my surroundings. The thing that threw my off the most is the fire hydrant: As you can see, it's shifted dramatically to the left in my modern photo, despite the fact that I'm almost certain it's the exact same piece of hardware (it had similar spray paint markings). From what I can tell, the sidewalk was widened at some point and the hydrant was shifted to be closer to the new street edge. At least I hope that's the case, otherwise this is the worst Before & After I've done.

Photo source: Tom Riggle, Flickr

Friday
Jan032014

Before & After - Orchard Street, Chinatown

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The above photo is interactive. Drag the yellow handle in the middle to reveal more or less of the before or after image. Alternatively, you can simply click anywhere on the image to move the slider automatically.

There used to be a time when phone booths offered a valuable utility to denizens of the city. Now, more often than not they're simply a vehicle for advertising, with the receiver covered in stickers reading "NO DIAL TONE". As these vestiges of a time past continue to die an incredibly undignified death, it's nice to look back at a time when they were not only thriving, but styled uniquely for the neighborhoods they were in.

Photo source: Tom Riggle, Flickr

Wednesday
Jan012014

Before & After - Federal Hall

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The above photo is interactive. Drag the yellow handle in the middle to reveal more or less of the before or after image. Alternatively, you can simply click anywhere on the image to move the slider automatically.

It's often mentioned that Federal Hall is where Washington was inaugurated as our first president. This is true, but – like most facts involving history – is somewhat misleading. The classical structure familiar to generations of New Yorkers was built over 40 years after Washington's death (1842). The original Federal Hall – the one that also acted as the nation's capital for a short period – was built in 1700 and had a balcony that was perfect for things like inaugurations. The current Hall's large steps which wrap around the statue of Washington are often mistaken as the site of the depicted historical event.

Sharing a similar history, Trinity Church (visible in the background) was built in 1846, but various buildings known as Trinity Church had been around since the late 1690's.

Photo source: Tom Riggle, Flickr

Monday
Dec092013

Before & After - Orchard Street

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The above photo is interactive. Drag the yellow handle in the middle to reveal more or less of the before or after image. Alternatively, you can simply click anywhere on the image to move the slider automatically.

When one talks about how neighborhoods have changed over the past 20 years, it usually comes with images of bulldozers and a large glass condo complete with CitiBank and 7-11 as the ground floor anchors. But these changes can be far more subtle. Take this block of Orchard Street for instance. When you look at it today, it looks as though little has changed in the past century, with no glass curtain walls or chain stores to be found. But when compared to the 1960's version, you can see a lot of the energy has just been drained from it. Sure, things look cleaner but all the street life that's been so important to these downtown neighborhoods over the decades has been completely stripped away. It seems there has been some attempt to retain the atmosphere of Orchard Street as this block is a designated pedestrian mall on Sundays.

Photo source: Tom Riggle, Flickr