In Plain Sight

Ghosts of a Brooklyn Pencil Factory

Continuing my search for a usable elevator in Greenpoint, my boss had given me a few addresses to check out, and as I approached 61 Greenpoint, I noticed a really great building detail I’ve never seen before… Lining the top floor windows are rows… …of pencils! Why Pencils? 61 Greenpoint was once part of the Faber Pencil Factory, located in ... Read More »

The Forgotten Cemetery at Home Depot

The Jericho Turnpike, cutting east-west through Long Island, is pretty much a wasteland of strip malls, corporate office parks, and fast food chains… …and the last place you’d expect to find anything of historical or cultural value is in the parking lot of a Home Depot. I think that’s what makes this place so great. Surrounded on all four sides ... Read More »

A NY Road Sign the DOT Forgot About

I think this is quite possibly my favorite road sign in New York: You can find this decaying sign on Seagirt Boulevard just before you cross the bridge to Atlantic Beach in south Queens. But the real question is: what the heck does this sign mean? You’re already in the middle of New York when you pass it; that arrow ... Read More »

Forgotten Storefronts in Williamsburg

I’m always on the lookout for the remnants of old storefronts. You can pretty much find them in any residential area that has gone through a period of economic decline, and Williamsburg is no exception. One in particular I’ve always wondered about is at the corner of North 5th Street and Berry Street… Now boarded up and most likely part ... Read More »

The Pigeon Master of Delancey Street

I saw the coolest thing as I was driving over the Williamsburg Bridge the other day… Above this building at the end of Delancey Street… I noticed a huge flock of birds circling overhead…Except, they never left the area. They just kept circling, and it soon became clear they were following something… That’s when I noticed these two guys on ... Read More »

Burger-Klein!

I love stumbling on New York’s ghost signs – essentially, signs or advertisements for businesses long since deceased. I wrote about the great stationery store sign hanging on Broadway just north of Canal Street a year ago (I promise, that arrow doesn’t lead to greeting cards anymore): Anyway, I was driving by the intersection yesterday, and I could be wrong, ... Read More »

The Animal Building on East 67th Street

I was walking past this art deco apartment building on East 67th Street yesterday… …when I noticed a series of really neat animal designs surrounding this side entrance. Above the door, a bulldog: Perched in the corners are an unhappy-looking dog and a menacing-looking rabbit: And above the entrance is this fanciful relief: It seemed a bit out of place, ... Read More »

The Addams Family House Near Union Square

I have to admit, when I saw the incredible two-story mansard roof of 881 Broadway (at 19th Street) illuminated from a nearby rooftop recently… …the first thing that came to mind was the Addams Family mansion: 881 Broadway / 115 Fifth Ave has always been one of my favorite buildings in Manhattan for its rooftop design. Riddled with sharp angles ... Read More »

The Weird Little Building on Lafayette Street

There’s a strange little building at the corner of Lafayette and Howard Street, and for years, I’ve wondered what the story is with it: The small portion on the left is a tiny one-level office, with the facade extending to cover the wall of a parking garage, whose entrance is through that roll-gate on the right. The weird thing is ... Read More »