Three Maps

by Don Friedman on April 19, 2018

Thanks to advances in database and mapping technology, we seem to be entering into a golden age of visualizing spatial data. Three new maps available in New York are examples of this trend. They’re not the first or necessarily the best of their kind, but they are displaying an enormous amount of data in a concise manner.

First, a visualization of all of the active sidewalk shed permits in the city: here. It doesn’t necessarily help with any individual project, although you can zoom in, select the dot that represents any individual shed, and immediate know (from the mouse-over text) the address and how long that shed has been in place. Clicking on the dot gets you the filing information for the shed. There is no new data here: all of this has long been available from the Department of Buildings website. What’s new, and useful, is the interface.

Second is the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation map of Landmarks Preservation Commission applications: here. Clicking on any flagged building will show the address and links to information about the applications, clicking on those links gets you basic information about the application. Fantastic detail, but unfortunately only in the GVSHP’s area of interest, the Village.

Finally, the LPC itself now has a map function, built off the city government’s overall mapping infrastructure: here. Every landmarked building and every district is high-lighted. Clicking on any of them brings up basic information about the building and a link to the designation report.

There is an enormous amount of useful information in all of the documents that various city agencies such as the DoB and LPC collect every day. These maps make that information accessible, which has no downside that I can see and can hope owners and designers make better informed decisions.

Vertical Stripes Are Thinning

April 8, 2018

I don’t think I’ve used this picture before. Underside of a floor showing diagonal subfloor above and white stripes where the plaster keys came through the wood lath. Nothing particularly significant, just a nice view of the details and some 130-year-old wood in excellent condition.

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An Ancestor

April 7, 2018

From Core77, a nice piece on star drills, the ancestor of today’s chipping hammers. As is so often true, the old technology still works just fine if you’re patient enough to use it. The “if,” of course, is why I don’t expect to see a star drill on one of my projects any time soon.

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Somewhere Between Vital and Useless

April 5, 2018

Pippa Biddle has a long and factually-correct article up at The Atlantic on the topic of fire escapes. Its title, “Fire Escapes Are Evocative, But Mostly Useless,” describes its conclusions well: it’s impossible to discuss fire escapes without discussing their aesthetics, even though they were meant purely* for safety. I don’t disagree with anything Biddle […]

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A Different Angle

April 1, 2018

I like it up there.

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Building Nature

February 27, 2018

Yesterday’s post about the possibility of creating a park in the New Jersey Meadowlands didn’t touch on an interesting aspect of the proposed park: little of it would be built by people. Instead the park would be made by removing built structures and letting nature have its way. It’s easy to forget that most urban […]

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Someone’s Got To Build It

February 15, 2018

I was fairly surprised to see this article saying that the number of construction workers in the city decreased in 2016. Construction in the city has been at high levels for years, which means construction workers have steady gigs, which traditionally has meant an increase in the number of people in the field. The article […]

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A Clever Oldy-Timey Detail

February 14, 2018

That mess is the edge of a stoop. It’s shored, so obviously it’s got problems, but ignoring that issue for a second, the first question we should be asking is “How did this thing ever stand up?” It’s brownstone, which is to say weak stone with a tendency to come apart from weathering. Each step […]

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Not a Skyscraper

February 11, 2018

The 277-foot-high Brooklyn tower of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1877, with the temporary walkway slung over its top.

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January 8, 2018

That’s the ceiling – which appears to be the structural roof – at the north entry to the Whitehall Street station on the R/W. Specifically, this is the stair leading down from the entry mezzanine to the platform. The excavated volume of space is a sloped rectangular prism, with the roof following the slope. The […]

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