We previously rounded up 8 beautiful historic districts in Manhattan that were smaller than a block and we decided it was time to look at all of New York City. All the boroughs except Staten Island have historic districts smaller than a city block, as defined by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. We’ll go in order, from the smallest number of houses in the district.

1. Hardenbergh/Rhindelander Historic District, Upper East Side, Manhattan

Hardenbergh Rhinelander Historic District-Upper East Side-89th Street-Lexington

This little historic district is really just a corner at the northwest corner of 89th Street and Lexington Avenue. In addition to this set of 6 buildings along Lexington Avenue, the district includes one narrow townhouse at 121 E. 89th Street. According to Ephemeral New York, Henry Hardenbergh, who designed the homes, “also designed the Dakota and the original Waldorf-Astoria on 34th Street.”


On May 4th and 5th the Municipal Art Society hosted its annual Jane’s Walks NYC, a series of 100+ guided walks and bike tours throughout the five boroughs.  The walks covered everything from historical tours of neighborhoods to Sandy recovery efforts in storm damaged areas.  We joined an exciting walk led by The Brooklyn Greenway Initiative which showed off sections of their planned 14 mile waterfront greenway.  More than just a bike lane, this greenway will provide efficient connections between Brooklyn’s emerging neighborhoods and new parks as well as add green infrastructure to the roads on which it will be implemented.



Untapped New York is a proud to be a partner of Let’s Go, with our shared vision for off-the-beaten path exploration in your own city and while traveling. To launch the collaboration, we curated a list of  our top “Untapped” places from our home base in New York City. These are all tried and true urban exploration sites that we’ve gone behind the scenes to cover on Untapped New York. How many have you been to? What others would you add to the list?

1.  The TWA Flight Center at John F. Kennedy Airport

Decommissioned in 2001 after the construction of the Jet Blue terminal, this cathedral to aviation by Eero Saarinen  fills you with the pride and optimism the aviation industry had in the 1960s. Preservation efforts have saved it from the wrecking ball and there are proposals to turn the TWA Flight Center into a hotel.


Nestled between symbols of urban industrialization and modern residential development (aka a Con Edison plant and glass condos), Vinegar Hill is a five-block square cobble-stoned neighborhood next to the Manhattan Bridge that seems to have been preserved in time circa the nineteenth century. This break in the time-space continuum is perpetuated by a sudden loss of ambient noise, that constant hum of urban activity, and the conspicuous absence of crowds. Curtained storefronts, iron gates, and unkempt greenery beyond fenced-off properties only further the mystery.

Named after a battle site in the Irish Rebellion, the land that is now Vinegar Hill was purchased in 1800 and settled by Irish working-class immigrants. The residential architecture consists of brownstones and frame houses in either the Federal style or Greek Revival/Italianate styles. Interspersed are factories and industrial buildings, the remnants of a once bustling community. Like most urban historical neighborhoods, Vinegar Hill has shrunk into an enclave as development began to encroach on its periphery. The Brownstoner tracks real-estate development and places of interest in the area, but a quick walk in any direction reveals the negotiation between private development and public works (low income-housing projects), neighborhood continuity and transportation initiatives (the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway).

What to See: Commandant’s House (former Federal-style home of Commodore Matthew C. Perry) on the edge of the Brooklyn Navy Yards, now a private mansion. Built circa 1805.

Commandant's House: Evans Street & Little Street

Commandant’s House: Evans Street & Little Street

What to Eat: Vinegar Hill House at 72 Hudson Avenue. From the ex-chef of Freemans, continuing the tradition of old world charm in Brooklyn.   Camouflaging perfectly in the neighbrohood, the décor is built predominantly from repurposed materials, with no sign except for the address “seventy-two” in glass mosaic above the doorway.

Vinegar Hill House

Vinegar Hill House

How to Get There: Subway – F train to York St., A/C to High St.

All photos by Michelle Young.