Types of NYC Manhattan Buildings:Brownstone, Pre-war, Post-war, Lofts, highrises

Glossary of Terms Types of Manhattan NYC Buildings

Brownstones or Townhouses These are typically 4 to 6 story buildings built in the 1800’s through the early 1900’s. They are either single family houses or have been converted over the years into multiple apartments. As a single family home, a townhouse or brownstone offers buyers privacy and the ability to purchase without the cooperative board process. Some apartments in townhouses can have grand living spaces and, therefore, will be quite expensive. Generally, these buildings afford more “charm”, with features such as gardens, fireplaces, beautiful floors and ornamental wood moldings. In almost all cases these buildings will not have a doorman. One can also purchase a coop or condo unit in a townhouse building. The term “brownstone” refers to the type of material used as facing on the front of the structure.

Pre-War Buildings Prewar buildings are those built before World War II. These buildings are usually ten to twenty stories, provide spacious apartment lay-outs, gracious architectural amenities with features such as larger rooms, fireplaces, hardwood parquet floors and higher ceilings. These can be doorman or non-doorman buildings.

Post War Buildings These buildings were built between the late 1940’s through the 1970’s. They are generally hi-rise and are constructed of white, red or brown brick. Most will have doormen. Postwar apartments may actually afford more living space than their prewar counterparts in studio, one and two bedroom sizes. They have ample closets, live-in superintendent and laundry facilities.

Hi Rise Full Service Buildings These are generally associated with new construction or are apartment buildings that were built from the 1980’s through the present. They are typically condominiums, twenty to forty or more stories with doorman and concierge services. Other amenities often include: health clubs and swimming pools, valet services and parking garages

Elevator Buildings This description is usually reserved for a non-doorman building that is six to twenty stories tall. There is usually an intercom security system, and some may have video security. These buildings could fall into either the pre-war or the post-war category.

Loft Buildings These buildings either were previously built for commercial or manufacturing purposes and are now used for residential living spaces or are newly constructed as loft buildingsThe spaces typically offer higher ceilings (9 feet-20 feet), open spaces and original details such as supporting columns, tin ceilings, etc. They are usually found in Greenwich Village, SoHo, TriBeCa, Chelsea, Flatiron, Nolita, and lower Manhattan and often do not have the services of a doorman.

Walk-Up Buildings This is the least expensive type of housing, and the quality can vary widely. Usually these are 4 to 5 story buildings with no elevator, hence the term “walk-up.” They were originally constructed as multi-family housing and lack the charm and elegance of traditional brownstones or townhouses.

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