Plotting the ages of every structure in the borough.
If you read New York Times trend pieces or watch HBO's "Girls," we'd forgive you for assuming all of the buildings in Brooklyn are painstakingly-restored, turn-of-the-century brownstones or converted industrial lofts.
A new interactive map put together by an editor of the local website Bklynr shows visually whether or not this is true. The map displays nearly every building in Brooklyn, color coded by the year built -- blue and green for the oldest, yellow for turn-of-the-century, light red for the mid-20th century, and a dark red for the newest buildings. The full, interactive map is available on Bklynr's website, where you can hover over an individual building and find out its address and age.
Thomas Rhiel, one of the founder's of the subscription-based publication, created the map over the last few weeks using data made public this spring from the New York City Department of City Planning. Rhiel says he was surprised by the depth of the information available. "They have all sorts of little structures that are seemingly insignificant -- even little maintenance sheds in Prospect Park," he explains.
The area around Prospect Park is a good example of what the map is able to simply show. The blocks to the west of the park include street after street of yellow-coded townhouses, built mostly between 1900 and 1930. Within the park, that tiny blue dot on the eastern edge is the Lefferts Historic House — built in 1783 and hauled into its current location in Prospect Park in 1918.
The map does a good job showing the different levels of age-diversity among Brooklyn neighborhoods. The areas of more spread out development in the far southeastern edges of the borough look like a sea of red on the map, a digital footprint of the post-war construction boom. In contrast, Brooklyn Heights (below) appears as a patchwork quilt of 19th century brownstones, early-20th century apartment buildings, and modern, 1970s highrises.
Rhiel says that the patterns of new and old that he found mostly mapped onto his own perceptions of age as he walks around the borough. But there were surprises too, including a more than 200-year-old building just a few blocks from his apartment in Fort Greene.
All images from Bklynr.