5. Abigail Hopper Gibbons House — 339 West 29th Street (between 8th and 9th Avenue)

This Greek Revivial Townhouse is Manhattan’s last known Underground Railroad junction. In 2011, it also become contentious when the building owner began to add an additional fifth floor. The Gibbons family were abolitionists even before the Civil War and opened their home to others sympathetic to the cause. It is reported that William Lloyd Garrison dined there with an escaping slave. During the Draft Riots of 1863, the house was attacked and burned. Two of the Gibbons daughters managed to escape through the roof onto adjacent properties and finally into a carriage on 9th Avenue.

On the day of our visit, work appeared at a standstill and the scaffolding permit had expired in December 2010.