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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.


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Before & After - SoHo at Mercer Street & Broome Street


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

Throughout the 1940's and 1960's the neighborhoods that would later become SoHo and Little Italy were under a constant threat of demolition due to the unrelenting power of Robert Moses and his plan to build the Lower Manhattan Expressway. Though this part of Manhattan is now an expensive and chic neighborhood, that was hardly the case 50 years ago when the former factory hotbed was in a deep localized depression. The expressway plan was aggressively pursued by Moses and it was only thanks to the tireless efforts of preservationists like Jane Jacobs that LOMEX, as it was known, was finally derailed. However the plan made it far enough that many individuals photographed the cast iron facades of Broome Street and other surrounding blocks, anticipating their demise. This is one such photo. Thanks to the thoughtful urban planning of Jane Jacobs and others we now have the opportunity to enjoy a renewal in this unique architectural neighborhood.

Photo source:  Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division.

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