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New York City: Architecture

This guide provides resources related to New York City.

Brooklyn Revealed

An interactive website created by the librarians at the New-York Historical Society that lets users discover how Brooklyn streets got their names, access images from the N-YHS collections, and read about Brooklyn history.

New York Public Library Digital Gallery

New York Public Library Digital Gallery

Alice Austen, 1866-1952. Snow Carts. Digital ID: 76777


Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals

Database offering a comprehensive listing of journal articles on architecture and design, including bibliographic descriptions on subjects such as the history and practice of architecture, landscape architecture, city planning, historic preservation, and interior design and decoration. Accessible to NYU-affiliated researchers from this link.

Building Permits Database, 1900-1986
The Office of Metropolitan History's searchable database of digitized building permits for all the new building applications filed in Manhattan for each year, from 1900 to 1986. Searchable by address, architect, owner and type of building.

"Classic 6": New York City Apartment Building Living, 1880s-1910s
A New York Public Library digital collection containing more than 1,300 digital images depict elevation views and floor plans for middle and upper class apartment buildings from New York City's pre-World War I residential building boom.

Image: Typical floor plan of the Hendrik Hudson Apartments. Digital ID: 417142

Historic House Trust of New York City
The Historic House Trust of New York City (Trust) is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1989 to help the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation preserve its collection of historic houses located in city parks.

Jack Brause Real Estate Library
Part of NYU, the library contains materials on all aspects of the real estate industry, from finance and investment, to development, management, and economics. Resources include industry forecasts, property ownership, zoning laws and maps, mortgage banking, retail leasing trends, real estate investment trusts, or even job hunting. Open to the public.

Municipal Art Society
The Municipal Art Society of New York, founded in 1893, is a non-profit membership organization that fights for intelligent urban planning, design and preservation through education, dialogue and advocacy. The MAS Reference Library "holds an extensive collection of several hundred thousand clippings culled from major city dailies as well as neighborhood weeklies, national periodicals, and local newsletters.  Urban planning, historic preservation, buildings, public art, open spaces, real estate development, and zoning are among the general topics represented."

New York City Buildings: Research Guide
Guide compiled by Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University Libraries. Provides sources for finding info about NYC buildings. Please note that this is a guide from the Avery Architectural Library at Columbia University. For non-web resources, you’ll need to search BobCat to see if NYU owns a copy.

New-York Historical Society Library's Architecture Research Guide
A guide to introduce researchers to printed architectural resources, specifically those relating to New York City, available in the reading room of the N-YHS Library and at local libraries and city agencies.

New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission
The Landmarks Preservation Commission is the New York City agency that is responsible for identifying and designating the City's landmarks and the buildings in the City's historic districts. The Commission also regulates changes to designated buildings.

NYC Department of Buildings
Contains statistics, codes, and other reference materials for buildings in NYC.

Researching Buildings Step-by-Step. Articles by Christopher Gray in The New York Times. "An Online Journey Through a House's History." New York Times (1857-Current file), 5 December, 2004, "A Guide to Researching the History of a Building: Where to Go, Whom to Ask and What To Do if it's in Manhattan." By Christopher Gray. New York Times (1857-Current file), 2 July 1995; Access to the articles in the ProQuest Historical Newspapers database from this page is available to NYU researchers.

The Real Estate Record "How could one weekly report keep tabs on the building activity in and around New York City and the surrounding area? From 1868 to 1922, the Real Estate Record did just that, and for anyone with an interest in urban affairs, it is a remarkable resource. It was digitized by the good folks at the Columbia University Libraries Digital Collections, and visitors can search through each volume by keyword or date. Each issue contains period advertisements, information about ongoing legal battles regarding properties, news about new and ambitious building projects, and so on. It is the primary record of real estate transactions in the area during this period. It's easy to see how this work might be used as a tool in historic preservation courses, urban history seminars, and related educational settings. It's quite easy to use and well-worth several return visits." From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2012.

New York Preservation Archive Project

A non-profit organization dedicated to documenting, preserving, and celebrating the history of historic preservation in New York City.  Includes a Preservation Database, Library, and Oral Histories as well as public programs and volunteer opportunities.

Building Codes and Violations

NYC Construction Codes

ECB Violation Reference Guides, I & II
Provides explanations of Environmental Control Board violations.

NYC Buildings Information System
Find violations, property profiles, safety reports, inspections, equipment tracking (includes elevators), and more. **NOTE: You’ll need the building’s address in order to search.