Infrastructure is an inevitable part of urban living. Subways and tunnels need ventilation, but the question is often–how to keep these functional spaces contained and away from the public eye? While many subway substations have been gutted and turned into apartments in New York City, other ventilation buildings have been concealed as residential townhouses. Here’s a roundup of these clever pieces of faux architecture in NYC, Paris, London and Toronto:

1. Brooklyn Heights Subway Ventilator


We’ve previously taken you through 5 of Manhattan narrowest houses, including the narrowest of them all at 75 ½ Bedford Street. In a lot of places, the 9½ foot-width of the former home of Edna St. Vincent Millay would be considered far from luxurious. But in New York, this rare piece of real estate is a marketable commodity: a whole 999 square feet that sold for $3.25 million last year. The recent video from the Wall Street Journal brings us inside the house for the first time.


Originally afixed to a fence near St. Vincents Hospital - the Tiles of Remembrance

9/11 Tiles of Remembrance originally on a fence near St. Vincents Hospital – The Tiles of Remembrance

It has been thirteen years since the attack on 9/11.  It was a day so deeply burned in our memories that each one of us individually remembers where we were and what we were doing.  Since that day, we have each paid tribute in our own way.  This year, The Jefferson Market Library has opened their doors to an exhibit honoring the memories we all shared. The Language of History: A Greenwich Village Artist Remembers 9/11  by artist and local resident Luke Kurtis.

The exhibit features the artists’ language tiles, photography and writings inspired by the families of 9/11, his own memories of that day and the days that followed. Included in the exhibit are some of the Tiles of Remembrance. Later renamed The Tiles for America Project, it was created by Lorrie Veasey at her studio, Our Name Is Mud, next to the empty lot and chain-linked fence on Greenwich Avenue and Seventh Avenue South. This fence became the spontaneous framework for people, both in our community and around the world, to show their feelings in the form of tiles.


Our recent fun map about the farmhouse that moved from the Upper East Side to Greenwich Village reminded us of all the other buildings in NYC that were literally picked up and relocated. Here’s a list of these migrants and their stories!

1. The Empire Theater on 42nd Street

Empire Theater-AMC-Times Square-42nd Street-Moved-NYC

Image via Cryptome 


Margaret Wise Brown House-121 Charles Street-Move from York Avenue-Vintage Photo-14th Street-NYCThe Charles Street farmhouse turns west on 14th Street, in 1967

We previously featured this little farmhouse that could at 121 Charles Street in Greenwich Village, which was moved in 1967 from the Upper East Side to save it from demolition. Last month, news broke that it might be razed for condos–something that the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation warned was a “misguided” assumption. GVSHP executive director Andrew Berman writes,


septuagesimo uno upper west side quiet spot in new york city untapped cities alex mcquilkin

Let’s face it: Manhattan is loud. Get in touch with your inner zen for a second and avoid the screeching noise of the subway at these five spots on the quieter side. Check out a bar opened by monks, a room filled with dirt, the smallest park in NYC, and more! (more…)