NEW YORK: Faceless Warrens

Nothing makes a New Yorker happier than the sight of an old building rich in memories of the past—unless it is tearing the damn thing down and replacing it with something in chromium and plate glass, with no traditions at all. Last week, as Manhattan vibrated to its biggest building boom since the '20s, old landmarks were toppling all over town.

On Greenwich Village's Washington Square, the handsome Georgian houses built by Real Estate Magnate William C. Rhinelander in the 1830s were coming down to make way for a new apartment house. Over near the East River, acres of slums...

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