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Over the years, especially recently, New Yorkers might have noticed some odd structures and art installations popping up along the streets of New York City. These objects have ranged from giant rats and buttons to feathers, bagels, different kinds of animals and tiny replicas. Though some no longer exist, we thought it would be fun to highlight some of the abnormally large or small objects that have sprung up. Thus, here’s a list of some objects that have appeared throughout New York City with the wrong dimensions, some of which might surprise you if you’ve never run into them.

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Herald Square “In 1900.” The Romance of the Store (1922)

As New York was reinventing itself from a Victorian city of rowhouses and horse-drawn carriages to a metropolis of skyscrapers, automobiles, and subways in the early years of the twentieth century, artist Vernon Howe Bailey (1874-1953) documented the city’s transition in his detailed drawings.

Bailey was one of the most popular American illustrators of the early 1900s, widely published in newspapers, magazines, and books. He even had his own series of short films, “Vernon Howe Bailey’s Sketch Book,” during the silent movie era shown in theaters across the country.

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greenwichvillagewalkingtourspeedlevitch

On Halloween Saturday, at 10 minutes to two, nineteen New Yorkers — mostly 40-something film buffs — met under the Washington Square Arch and a cerulean sky.  We maneuvered around the miniature “Elsas,” “Minions” and assorted ghouls, waiting in anticipation for our walking tour of Greenwich Village with Timothy “Speed” Levitch, the former Gray Line guide who achieved cult status after appearing in the documentary, The Cruise.

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Set back from the street and tucked away behind a fence on 11 East 11th Street in Greenwich Village lies a little synagogue that has recently sparked a discussion about constitutional issues. As reported by Gothamist, the Conservative Synagogue of Fifth Avenue recently submitted a proposal to renovate their 1921 landmarked building for religious purposes, causing a debate over whether or not the right to worship exempts certain buildings from New York City laws protecting historic landmarks. The vote held on Thursday, October 22nd by the Landmarks & Public Aesthetics Committee 1 concluded that it does not.  (more…)

chumley's-oldest surviving bars-west village-nyc

Fans of the historic Greenwich Village speakeasy Chumley’s have been anxiously awaiting its return following a wall collapse in 2007. Reconstructing the facade took about five years. Its reopening was once predicted to be in 2016 and it appears Chumley’s is on its last barrier return, needing a liquor license approval from Manhattan Community Board 2. Anyone who has attended a meeting of Community Board 2 will understand the challenge – meetings can go upwards of five hours, and the battles are often over liquor licenses for the neighborhoods that include Greenwich Village, Soho, and Chinatown. The residents here simply don’t want more noise. With the upcoming vote, New York resident Monroe Smith has started a petition on Change.org: “Last Call to Save Chumley’s at 86 Bedford Street.” Signatures are being collected to show support for its return.

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Fans of OldNYC will be excited to see another historical photo mapping tool. The Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation (GVSHP) has released its historic photo archive. Though it currently only has 300 images (vs. the 21,000 in OldNYC, the images here range from 19th century drawings to images of lost buildings, to places preserved thanks to the New York City Landmarks law, and more will be added. The photos reflect specifically “the history of the people and built environment of Greenwich Village and surrounding areas,” writes GVSHP.

We’ve embedded the map above (click on the icons to see the images), but you can also browse and search on the GVSHP website.

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