Thanks to Bowery Boogie for posting this today. It’s the life cycle of a single block on Eldridge, between Rivington and Stanton:
See a slower version here, which will also allow you to progress one year at a time or to click on individual buildings for more info.
The artist, a Seattle-based web designer and writer named Zac van Schouwen, explains the project’s origins:
Awhile back, I was trying to find out the history of a building
that my great-great-grandfather had lived in — an old five-story
tenement on Eldridge Street in Manhattan. With some help from
Christopher Gray’s guide to researching New York City buildings, I
discovered that the building had been erected in 1834, on the site of
an old house. It was demolished in the 1940s; its lot later held a
garage, then a housing project.
My mystery was solved, but the project had piqued my interest
anyway. I decided to try a more mammoth task, compiling a complete
record of the life cycle of a single city block. That’s what I’ve
presented here. Beginning in the 1780s with James Delancey’s farm, and
ending with the present public housing structures, erected in 1985,
this is a record of eight generations of buildings on two-thirds of an
acre. (There is a brief gap from about 1802 to 1808, during which I’ve
made educated guesses as to the state of construction.)
Clicking on any building here will give you more details about its
history. The tenement that sparked this interest, #218, is a good place
to start. My great-great-grandfather lived there in 1860. Keep an eye
on it in 1922. Enjoy!
My favorite part is the fire-escapes that pop up in the early twentieth century. 1978 is the saddest year of all.