15. Narrowest Shops: Columbus Avenue & Garment District

Smoke Shop on Columbus Ave, NYC Superlative: Narrowest Shop in NYC

When you have a city like New York where space is at a premium, there are many opportunities for interesting size superlatives. On the Upper West Side, one of the curious developments in the urban fabric of Columbus Avenue are the narrow shops that exist between buildings. The Smoke Shop at 208 Columbus Avenue is one of the narrowest in the city at 46″ including the door frame, leaving 36″ of walkable space. This isn’t a one-off occurrence.

The occupation of these narrow shops between buildings is part of a special zoning plan from the city of New York, which seems to have reinforced and/or extended already existing usages of in-between spaces along this avenue. A shop in the Garment District selling knockoff DVDs is even narrower. It’s 44″ wide including the door frame, with only 22″ of walkable space. If you include the electronic equipment that blocks more than half of the entryway, you’re left with about 10″, all of which is blocked by the fire hydrants outside.