Last night on our Untapped Cities after hours tour of the historic Eldridge Street Synagogue, our guide Rachel Serkin drew our attention to the faux painting walls, the upside chandelier, the magnificent stained glass windows and, surprisingly, the floors. The lumps and bumps, she explained, have been created through over a hundred year history of patrons using the space. This got us thinking – there must be thousands of floors in New York that share a similar past. Auspiciously, Gothamist recently released a video that reveals just that – the city’s unique and diverse styles of floors.
Using the hashtag #ihavethisthingforfloors, Gothamist compiled a montage of New York floors ranging from everyday sideways to elegant tiles. This is not the first time New Yorkers have pulled together to show off some of the city’s overlooked wonders. Brownstoner had a similar Instagram challenge in September to capture the beautiful doors of Brooklyn’s iconic brownstones. Other individual photography projects have documented neon signs in the Upper East Side and the vintage letters of Alphabet City.
As Gothamist points out, the history found in New York’s floors can sometimes be tragic but it can also be uplifting. For example, as we’ve previous covered, the tiny Hess Triangle, located plot at the corner of Christopher Street and 7th Avenue in Greenwich Village represents one man’s final protest against the system on a mere 500 square inches of land. Take a look at some of our favorite patches of ground we took from the video and imagine the history behind them.
Next, check out 6 other photo documentary projects in NYC.