2015 Urban Morphology Roundup

Thank you readers for your continued interest in our blog throughout 2015. Gordon’s Urban Morphology has grown substantially in readership over our prior year as we continue to highlight subjects in New York’s built environment which have galvanized The City in one way or another.

Continuing the tradition from last year, here is our Round-Up of our most popular posts based on user clicks:




Our most popular post of 2015: Readers imaginations soared to the heights of the Supertall Skyscrapers in Imagination City

Cantilevered Condo

Our most controversial post which touched on the provocative positions which Architecture can take:  The F#ck You Building on The Fringes of Delancey


The blandness of the Essex Crossing Development, sold to the public as a development which was once much more attractive: A Bait and Switch in The Lower East Side

Fountain View 2 WTC

The redesign of Two World Trade Center, and the impressions this change left us had us lament in Hunchback of The Trade

Nordstrom Spire

And New York’s next great Supertall had its top lopped off in The Central Park Spire, Revisited

Two Tenements Down_2

While our most poignant post revisited a piece of Tenement history, befallen by the wrecking ball in Two Tenements, Down

 So, there you have 2015’s top posts. Thanks again for your readership and stay tuned for 2016 where we’ll continue to strive to bring fresh perspectives on our Changing City. Happy New Year from Gordon’s Urban Morphology.


Vintage Stock of NYC

Vintage Stock_Williamsburg

(Construction of The Williamsburg Bridge, New York, 1903. Image by Ewing Galloway)

For all the mapping fans, and the historical photo fans of New York’s History: The New York Public Library has released an interactive photo map highlighting numerous locations across The City. For a fun historical tour of many familiar and some long gone places, you can click HERE.

It’s the Vintage Stock of NYC.

Railspotting NYC


(Williamsburg Bridge Subway Rails, New York. 2007. Image by Flickr User R36 Coach)

An interesting post from our fellow bloggers at Curbed, Nick Benson has compiled an array of photographs of rail systems traversing many Cities across the globe in his Railfan Atlas. Of particular interest to us are the Subway images of NYC across its 5 Boroughs.

Urban geography is defined not only by buildings but by the vast infrastructure connecting people across The City’s terrain. The subway is the lifeblood of New York. The experience is often mired by the difficulties of traveling so close to so many in this large Metropolis. But oftentimes, moments of beauty break through to give pause in The Frenzied City. Enjoy.

Links of Relatable Note can be found Here:

Railfan Atlas (Note: Type in New York on Location Search)

Mapping the Many Photographs of NYC’s Subways from Curbed

Mapping The Doors of NYC


(Manhattan Doors, 1975-1976, by Roy Colmer)

An interesting link to the geography of Door Mapping, as a retrospective work of art by the Artist Roy Colmer (1935-2014). These snapshots capture New York entryways in a moment of time, but remind us of a static New York, one that is not constantly changing, but in this case, revolving. Often mundane and everyday, these doors mark the entryways to many homes and businesses across The City. Some are still around. And some have vanished with the passage of Time. The historical collection of photographs can be found at the New York Public Library.

Links of Interest to Roy Colmer’s Door Maps can be found HERE:

Roy Colmers Doors in Photogeographies

Link to a more concise summary of Roy Colmer and his work in Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York

And, additional coverage on the doorways in Curbed

Mapping Our City of Change


(The Citizens Housing Planning Council, Making Neighborhoods Mapping Tool, 2014)

We try to feature a series of maps once in a while which are relevant to New York and its development cycle. This time, the Citizens Housing Planning Council has produced a neighborhood comparison map of demographic change between the years 2000 and 2010. It’s useful if one wants to study the dynamic forces which impact demographic movement across Urban Geography. It’s also a fun tool to see how New York has shifted over time, or at least the span of our early millenium.

For a direct link to the Map and to see where your neighborhood falls, please click HERE.

Waterworks Manhattan

Water Tunnel

(New York Water Tunnel #3, Under Construction)

Infrastructure is rarely a topic of notice to the typical City-Goer. It often happens behind the scenes, and unnoticed to the general public.

Not many New Yorker’s know, but many experience on a daily basis, the addition of the New Water Tunnel #3 Viaduct; partially completed and also still under construction under the tangled streets of the City. Providing fresh and potable water to residents, the water Tunnel is designed to supply Greater New York from the Upstate water supply system.

Water Tunnel 3 Map

(Map of the Water Tunnel’s and their connection to Manhattan)

Burrowing deep under the ground, the water tunnel is accessed through vertical shafts intermittently occurring in and around The City. Shown in the picto-graphic below, the scale of both the tunnel and  the access system is enormous, as is its budget at an estimated 6 Billion USD. Considering the span of its construction, nearly 50 years, this puts the price tag in a larger perspective.


(Picto-Graphic of the Water Tunnel and its link to Manhattan Buildings) 

Over time, the water tunnel will enhance the quality of life in The City by providing clean water for future generations ahead. It will allow for the shutdowns of New York’s other water tunnels for repair (#’s 1 & 2) which have been in service for much of the previous decade. An investment well made for the Greater New York.

Links of Relatable Note can be found Here:

60 Minutes video on the miners of Tunnel #3.

NYC.GOV weblink to Water Tunnel #3

Wikipedia Link to Water Tunnel #3.

Urban Cartography

Urban Cartography

(The Municipal Art Society’s Interactive Graphic Illustrating Developers Air Rights)

The Municipal Art Society recently came out with an interactive graphic illustrating the “Air Rights” of developers. For a more thorough description of Air Rights and what this potentially means for your neighborhood, you can click on the explanation from CityLab HERE. This detail helps everyone understand how, or potentially how, The City may change around them. Plus, it’s fun to play with Maps.

The link to the actual mapping site can be found HERE. Note that the areas trending toward Red indicate a greater potential for more, and denser development while the areas trending toward Yellow indicate a lower potential for noticeable development.