9.13.2017 - Eye Turning NYC Images

How do  you turn your eye off?  This trip wasn't about glass, or seeking that quintessential feel of the Big Apple, which surprisingly didn't feel big at all?  Are the comfort, beauty items we find pleasing somehow made present and evident no matter where we go?  

This is my take away from a week spent doing much different things than shown here... but these are the underlying sweetness of unintentionally being bombarded by the things I find so wonderful.  Thank you wonderful elements, for finding me. love, Jill

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A little info I found online about these gems...

"Cast-iron vault lights (plates with glass lenses set into them) from the portion of sidewalk adjacent to the buildingVault space was a great thing in the nineteenth century. It could be and was used for coal storage, getting the potential fires and explosions of coal dust out of the body of the building. It could be and was used for boilers for the same reason. It could be used for storage for heavy objects, which makes sense when you remember that all those pretty cast-iron front loft buildings were warehouses and factories.

It gradually became more trouble than it was worth. The sidewalks leaked, and the cast-iron portions (particularly the vault lights) cracked under heavy loads. It was lousy space for anyone more sentient than a lump of coal. It was also, until 1997, taxed if it was usable. As a result, a lot of landlords closed off the interior access to the vaults, making them unusable and therefore untaxable, but also eliminating any possibility of maintenance. The tops of vaults were often covered with new sidewalk concrete, to the point where it is sometimes not possible to tell if a vault is present or not.

The New York City Department of Buildings has had some real success in digitizing records, but the focus has not surprisingly been on records pertinent to current regulations. The tax on vaults was handled by the Department of Finance, and those records have not been directly linked to the DoB records. Add this to the physical conditions and here’s the result: there are no accurate public records about which buildings have sidewalk vaults. In some cases there may not be accurate private records: if someone bought a building in 2000 that has a vault that was walled off in 1980, they may not even know that extension is there."

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