Tour of Fake Buildings in New York City

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In order to maintain the appearance of a beautiful city, city-dwellers prefer to hide the industrial infrastructure that keeps it running. To achieve this, fake buildings are created. New York City is filled with such false facades that are designed to disguise the machines that power the city’s energy and transportation systems. The outside of these buildings are made to look like townhomes or repurposed facilities, while the inside houses ventilation shafts, electrical substations, and emergency tunnels. The purpose of these fake buildings is not only to improve the appearance of the city, but also to make it difficult for thieves to access valuable materials inside. Although the disguise skill level of these structures may not be as sophisticated as Clark Kent, they are still impressive both inside and out. Similar deceptive fronts can also be found in Toronto, Paris, and Chicago.

These fake buildings are not a new concept. In the Old West, architects used false fronts to enhance the appearance of bland buildings and make them look grander than they actually were.


1. What are False Facades?

False facades are the fake fronts of buildings that were constructed to enhance the overall look of a street or block. These facades were often created to cover up unsightly structures or to make a street look more uniform. False facades were popular in New York City during the 19th and early 20th century. They were often made of plaster, wood or other materials that could easily be removed or replaced.

2. Where can I find False Facades in New York City?

False facades can be found throughout New York City, but they are most commonly found in older neighborhoods like Greenwich Village, SoHo, and the Lower East Side. Many of these facades have been preserved and can still be seen today. Some buildings have even been built to look like they have false facades to fit in with the surrounding architecture.

3. Why were False Facades used in New York City?

False facades were used in New York City to create the illusion of grandeur and to make the city look more aesthetically pleasing. They were often used to cover up rundown or unsightly buildings and to create a more uniform look on a street. False facades were also used to make buildings appear taller or more ornate than they actually were.

4. How were False Facades constructed?

False facades were constructed using a variety of materials including plaster, wood, and metal. They were often built off-site and then attached to the front of a building. Some false facades were designed to be temporary, while others were meant to last for many years. The construction of a false facade could take weeks or even months depending on the size and complexity of the project.

5. Can False Facades still be built in New York City?

Yes, false facades can still be built in New York City, but they are rarely used today. The city has strict building codes and regulations that make it difficult to construct a false facade. In addition, many people prefer to preserve the original architecture of buildings rather than covering them up with a fake front.

6. Are False Facades considered a form of architecture?

False facades are not considered a form of architecture in the traditional sense. They were more of a decorative element that was added to buildings to enhance their appearance. However, false facades have played a significant role in the history and development of New York City’s architecture, and they are often studied and admired by architects and historians today.

7. What is the significance of False Facades in New York City’s history?

False facades played a significant role in the development of New York City’s architecture and urban landscape. They were used to create the illusion of grandeur and to make the city look more aesthetically pleasing. False facades also allowed buildings to be renovated or re-purposed without having to tear them down completely. Today, false facades are a reminder of New York City’s rich architectural history and are often admired and studied by architects, historians, and tourists alike.

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