A Building Ghost

by Don Friedman on April 19, 2016

Another random picture, this one taken by Gabi of an orphaned rowhouse.

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I can’t tell if the row originally extended to the right, but it quite obviously did extend to the left. You’re looking at the second through fifth floors of a (now) five-story building, with a two-story commercial storefront extension in front of the original facade. The second floor would have been the parlor floor of the original house, at the top of the stoop, and the first floor would have been the basement. In other words, when the commercial storefront was built, the parlor and basement floors were probably both raised. A building that used to be four and a half stories became five stories.

The yellow color of the facade must be paint: where the window hoods are damaged (the leftmost windows at the third and fourth floors) the color of the brownstone has been exposed. The brownstone is, in any case, a veneer covering brick back-up.

The most interesting part of the picture, for me, is the house that isn’t there on the left side. The gray areas (click to enlarge the photo) are where modern repairs have been made to the brick. The right vertical strike is where the facade of the missing building connected to the party-wall (the now-exposed side wall of the remaining building); the wider vertical stripe is where a chimney for the missing building has been filled in. The infilled joist pockets, where the wood floor beams for the missing building were supported on the wall, are visible between the two stripes.

Our work obviously is based on extant buildings, but looking at ghosts is fun and sometimes informative.

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