The experience of real estate in New York City is rarely boring. You meet interesting people and you get to go inside buildings that you may have passed for years, but have never see
For me, while selling and renting properties mostly in Upper Manhattan, most of which are pre-war and even often pre-World War I, one of the elements that I look forward to is the unique floor tiles. The patterns and colors of many of original floor mosaics are vivid and truly wonderful. I have a college degree in archaeology, so for me, the discovery of these flo
However sometimes the floor tiles can mislead. In my own building, the Riviera at 790 Riverside Drive, largely consistent Greek key-patterned floor tiling throughout the almost block-long building hallways masks the fact that in 1938 Metropolitan Life Insurance, who were then the owners, redesigned one wing of the building filling it with apartments that were considered more modern for the times. They chopped up four original and parallel 10-room apartments and made them into studios, one bedrooms, two bedrooms, and a thoroughly modern three bed-three bath units which is and was the G line. They created public corridors out of hallways that were once internal to each of the old 10-room sprawling apartments, and then grouped these new-fangled apartments along these now exterior public corridors. And they tiled those new public corridors in the same Greek-key patterned old tiles that already covered the floors in the other untouched wings of the building.
Moral of the story: you can’t trust the tiles to tell you building history—but I still really get a kick out of discovering them.