Not so “Green” Technology
No, this isn’t my much promised dissection of SuperFreakonomics’ potshots at Realtors (continuing in the spirit of Freakonomics).
I’m only on a page 36.
Instead, it’s a quick post calling attention to a bit of Manhattan trivia the authors uncovered (never heard it before, but it certainly sounds plausible).
Namely, the reason that all those stylish, 19th century Manhattan brownstones have stoops and walk-up’s has to do with the nature — literally — of transportation prior to the internal combustion engine.
According to the authors:
Horse manure was piled as high as sixty feet in vacant [Manhattan] lots. It lined city streets like the banks of snow. In summertime, it stank to the heavens; when the rains came, a soupy stream of horse manure flooded the crosswalks and seeped into people’s basements. Today, when you admire old New York brownstones and their elegant stoops, rising from street level to the second-story parlor, keep in mind that this was a design necessity allowing a homeowner to rise above the sea of horse manure.
—SuperFreakonomics (pp. 9-10)
Sort of takes the charm out of “garden-level” apartments (“Manhattan-speak” for basement).