Not An Optical Illusion

by Don Friedman on February 17, 2016

A lot of what is now SoHo was once a swamp. Don’t take my word for it, just zoom in on the Viele map. What does that bit of history mean today? Among other things, it means that the soil in that area is relatively soft and tends to settle more than average under concentrated loads.


This photo isn’t warped and the camera wasn’t tilted to the side. Notice that the masonry piers are vertical. It’s just that the pier on the right, and the side bearing wall behind it, have settled a great deal relative to the center of the building and the center of the street facade.

The good news is that the settlement happened long ago. The bad news is that no one cared if the floors were level when this building was a warehouse, but it’s now residential.

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