10 Greene Street
16 Greene Street

10 Greene - 1869, John B. Snook, architect
16 Greene - 1882‒1883, Samuel A. Warner architect

Fire escapes on cast iron facades

It is hard to appreciate the facades of these two cast iron buildings because their fronts are hidden by fire escapes.

Following the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire in New York in which 146 people died—mostly seamstresses trapped behind locked doors in a factory on the east side of Washington Square Park—a stricter fire code was enacted. The 1915 law required that factory buildings erected prior to October 1, 1913, add exterior fire escapes. Only buildings with two interior stairwells were exempt.

The loft spaces in SoHo serving as offices, warehouses, and factories were, of course, affected. Narrow buildings with only one interior stairwell, such as these on Greene Street, added the metal fire escapes to comply with the new law.

Directions: Walk south on Greene Street toward Canal Street. Walk east on Canal Street.

Images

10 and 16 Greene Street

10 and 16 Greene Street

fire escapes added after 1915 | Creator: Leslie Schwartz Photography View File Details Page

Fire escapes in SoHo

Fire escapes in SoHo

another view of fire escapes in SoHo | Source: Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division | Creator: Carol M. Highsmith View File Details Page

Newspaper Article on Triangle Shirt Waist Fire

Newspaper Article on Triangle Shirt Waist Fire

Gruesome media coverage of the tragedy prompted calls for new legislation to protect workers and residents in high buildings. | Source: Washington Herald, March 25, 1911 View File Details Page

"Keep Fire Escapes Empty," <em>New York Tribune</em>, August 5, 1916

"Keep Fire Escapes Empty," New York Tribune, August 5, 1916

Newspaper articles following the appearance of fire escapes suggest that city officials and city residents contested how the escapes should be used. While most buildings in SoHo were commercial at the time, many would eventually be converted to multiple unit dwellings. | Source: "Keep Fire Escapes Empty," New York Tribune, August 5, 1916 View File Details Page

Doors to 10 Greene Street in 1976

Doors to 10 Greene Street in 1976

Source: New York Public Library Digital Collections | Creator: Roy Colmer, photographer View File Details Page

Doors at 10 Greene Street in 1976

Doors at 10 Greene Street in 1976

Signage on these door indicate the occupant and use of the space. | Source: New York Public Library Digital Collections | Creator: Roy Colmer, photographer View File Details Page

Street Address:

10 Greene Street, New York, NY [map]

Cite this Page:

Margot Gayle and Robin Lynn, “10 Greene Street
16 Greene Street,” Tours, accessed August 23, 2019, http://tours.hpef.us/items/show/16.

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