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Old Posted Dec 30, 2020, 9:03 PM
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How New York Became A Metropolis Of Stoops

How New York Became A Metropolis Of Stoops


December 7th, 2020

Read More: https://ephemeralnewyork.wordpress.c...lis-of-stoops/

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Houses in Holland were built with a front stoep to keep parlor floors from flooding. When the early inhabitants of New Amsterdam built their dwellings, they kept the stoop though they probably weren’t the grand and ornate staircases built two centuries later. The stoop could have gone the way of wood-frame houses and corner tea water pumps in the developing metropolis. But stoops served another purpose after the Commissioners’ Plan of 1811 aka, the city street grid went into effect.

- The grid plan didn’t leave any space for alleys. Without a back door to a rowhouse accessed through an alley, servants and workers would enter and exit a residence using the same front stoop the owners used which wasn’t too popular, at least with the owners. — But a tall stoop set back from the sidewalk allowed for a side door that led to the lower level of the house. While the owners continued to go up and down the stoop to get to the parlor floor (and see and be seen by their neighbors), everyone else was relegated to the side. — And of course, as New York entered the Gilded Age of busy streets filled with dust, ash, refuse, and enormous piles of horse manure, a very high stoop helped keep all the filth from getting into the house.

- As architectural styles changed, the New York City stoop changed as well. The short stoops on Federal Style houses from the early 19th century fell out of favor as brownstones, with their high, straight, ornate stoops took over the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn. — In the late 19th century, with brownstones derided for their cookie-cutter design (and chocolate sludge appearance), Romanesque Revival styles gained favor. Architects created playful takeoffs of the typical stoop. The “dog-leg” stoop, which turns to the left or right halfway down the steps, was popular on the Upper West Side and in parts of Brooklyn. — New Yorkers can thank the Dutch settlers of the 17th century for the stoop, arguably the city’s most iconic and beloved architectural feature.

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