Printed from at 09:47 PM, Oct 21 2016
Talk » Sales » Discussing 'Worst Construction Quality & Style Decade?'

Worst Construction Quality & Style Decade?


Worst Construction Quality:
Worst Style:

'70s and '80s.

Low ceilings and NO architectural detail.


Open kitchens.

When did 8 ft. ceilings come into play?

Worst Construction Quality: Anything by Toll Brothers
Worst Style: Anything by Donald Trump

8 foot ceilings (even 7 foot) were introduced in the '70s in response to the energy crises.

Wrong, Matthew. Introduced in the late 1940s, normalized in the mid-1950s, in response to the post-war housing shortage and the need to quickly mass-build affordable homes using standardized, easily-transported materials.

Plumping was tightly clustered to save money.

The 7-foot part accomodated ductwork, mostly at hallway, bath and kitchen.

Presumably this exactly describes the 4-bedroom "Camelot" model in your childhood tract house in Harrisburg. With asbestos-vinyl floor tiles later covered in wall-to-wall carpet, and with popcorn-coated ceilings, to save builder even more on the slightly skilled labor that mud/tape ceilings require.

But dad got a Barbie Queue grill in the backyard and a nice carport (maybe double), and mom got a fancy modern automatic electrical dishwashing machine, so who cares? Plus no Undesirable Types.

I'm sorry, but I'm RIGHT on this one, Alan.

Nice try, though.

No. 8' became more common in the 1950s in markets where they'd fly, but could be found in any decade. There is no apartment building in NYC with 7' ceilings.

Ceiling height is the result of a builder juggling what a market will accept with getting the maximum rentable/sellable space from a lot. That changes with time.

The Apthorp of 1908 is 12'10" floor-to-floor, giving clear height of a bit less than 12'. That was pretty much required in a building of its caliber then.

28 E 10th of 1928 is 9'5" floor-to-floor, so clear height of around 8'6".

2 E 67th of 1928 has a clear height of 11', so floor-to-floor a bit more than 12'.

130 W 12th of 1941 is 9' floor-to-floor, so clear height of a bit more than 8'.

In the 1950s and later, even top-of-the-market buildings could get away with 8', but there were always exceptions.

2150 B'way of 2010 is 10'9" floor-to-floor, so a bit less than 10' in the clear.

In the U.S. generally, 8' has been the default for residential construction since at least the 1920s. There's a reason a standard 2x4 is 8' long and standard drywall comes in 4'x8' sheets.

Look at a house or apartment and gauge from the door height, which is most likely 6'8" or 7'.

alanhart, close but not quite. It's a pretty standard 1983 house on a nicely-wooded acre about 20 miles from Pittsburgh. Two-car garage, and I'd guess three or four bedrooms and 2.5 baths. The assessor's website there is sadly lacking in detail.


This thread is limited to major metropolitan areas.

And it's actually a five-car garage. Two master suites (one on the first floor) and three additional bedrooms. 3.5 baths. First-floor laundry. Pantry. Linoleum (REAL linoleum) and hardwood floors. No popcorn ceilings. Finished basement. Workshop. And access to all three attics for storage.

Ah OK, I missed that second driveway on the right, going to the three extra garages in the basement.

At first I was afraid Google Streetview had led me astray, but the county GIS confirmed I had the right house.


Nah, just idle curiosity. After three years and 6500 posts, there's been enough biographical detail that it would've been tough to not figure it out. Not as if you had anything to hide....


NWT: you scare me. If you do see me on the street, you should say hi.

(he sees you now. wave.)

Okay, it wasn't that hard. Just had to focus for a few minutes. I'll wave to you when I jog up to the bridge.

There're two reasons I haven't figured out who you are:

1. My laziness and short attention-span. I'd have to get all the ACRIS data from two large buildings into a database, and then query names for a match. I've forgotten the second building, anyway.

2. You've said you'd be bothered by having your cover blown, and so you write carefully. Since I'm pretty much incapable of not letting people know I know, the ethics of the compulsively nosey keep me from knowing. Or something like that.

Maybe I'll run into West81st when he's run into you at Fairway, and he'll introduce us.

NWT, props on the NYCMatt stalking.

I guess the fact that you have not said anything means you haven't figured me out yet? Do you think anyone has figured you out?

"in response to the post-war housing shortage"

FWIW, my grandfather was an architect/builder who designed/constructed thousands of "upscale" suburban houses and some apartment buildings from the 1920s to the 1960s. I've been in quite a few of them. Everything pre-war had nine- or ten-foot ceilings. Everything post-war had eight-foot ceilings. Building supplies were non-existent during the war and tight after the war, so builders economized wherever they could.

inonada, no. I might've worked on it had you ever dropped a great big clue. It's pretty hit-or-miss.

I've dropped enough myself, but if anyone's followed through they've been content to just know.

NWT: I hardly ever shop at Fairway any more. The Tribeca Whole Foods (on the way home from my day job) has me hooked. I do miss the chance encounters with 10023.

Returning to the original question, I'll go with the 80s for lowest quality and the 70s for worst style.

hfscomm long ago posted, so NWT needn't do a great big sensational exposé on me.

Besides, NWT is usually spot-on in his muck-raking exposés, but clearly some of Matthew's, um, vintage? couldn't have grown up in a house that was built in 1983.

Maybe that childhood bump-up from the starter home to the Camelot model in 1961.

1983 is probably when they converted the rec room (with full bar, 3 barstools and everything, just like in a real pub!) to RV parking, and encased the whole thing in vinyl siding.

"someone" on first line

2-4-6-8, who do we appreciate? NWT! NWT! NWT!

So the 1980s.

Worst of everything? Whenever popcorn ceilings first emerged or were generally utilized (70s? 80s?). Many sins of style can be forgive but NOTHING excuses popcorn ceilings.

>NOTHING excuses popcorn ceilings.

And when was it redeemed?

construction during the 2003-8 boom. most are falling apart already and just wait a few more years for the rest to start falling.

Name some falling apart buildings from that period?

Also, unless Matthew's parents are hippies, it's highly unlikely that they have REAL linoleum (made from linseed oil rather than petroleum). Especially if his stalker got the house year right. Most likely polyvinyl chloride sheet floorcovering over plywood. Linoleum ended a hundred-year run of popularity in the 1960s.

Alan, this discussion is not about Harrisburg or Columbia County. Focus on buildings here in New York.

"Whenever popcorn ceilings first emerged or were generally utilized (70s? 80s?)"

Popcorn ceilings -- technically acoustic ceilings -- can be found in some 1950s and 60s California tract housing and, of course, later stock. The pre-1978 material was often made with asbestos. The post-asbestos formula turned out to be easier to apply, so use became more common in the late 1970s and into the 1980s.

"Also, unless Matthew's parents are hippies, it's highly unlikely that they have REAL linoleum (made from linseed oil rather than petroleum). Especially if his stalker got the house year right. Most likely polyvinyl chloride sheet floorcovering over plywood. Linoleum ended a hundred-year run of popularity in the 1960s."

As a matter of fact, Mother made a particular point of searching for the REAL stuff when they built the house.

NWT, can you please enlighten the streeteasy community - what is NYCMatt's building where doormen cannot accept tips, every unit is at least a 2-bedroom, all residents are thoroughly middle class, and every shareholder has been meticulously and thoroughly vetted in an infallible board approval process?

I thought Matt's building is a walk-up, where it would be sort of unusual to have doormen.

Buster, why not just ask me directly?

And to WHICH building would you be referring? My primary residence, or the investments?

Your primary residence, of course. Which you had said in the past is a walkup.

Don't think you can be the "board president" in an investment property.

I'm trying to reform, and will start tomorrow.

It looks like a pleasant, well-kept building. The least-expensive apartment goes for at least four times the median HHI in its census tract, and that census tract has much the highest HHI in the neighborhood.

I don't remember everything Matt's ever said about his co-op, but the general impression I have agrees with the findable facts.

NWT, you are good, and a good reality checker for those who get carried away--i bet you know more about me than i do.

Comment removed.

Hi NYCMatt, I guess I should have just asked directly. Which building is your primary residence?

The brick one.


I don't follow your postings as closely as NWT, however, if I remember a snippet of detail correctly, you live somewhere in the Chelsea area, maybe even between Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen.

No. Fort George.

Nice try, Alan. But wrong again.

Comment removed.

Aboutready, what's the latest with you in Long Island City?

Comment removed.

Oops, sorry, I confused it with your place in Greenpoint.
Close enough!


Well, sometimes I get confused. What can you do, you know?

why do you constantly change handles?

Depends which door or cabinet I need to open.

what's it like?

Comment removed.

Greensdale is a fictional place, but it has been inspired by NYC places like Greenpoint, or Riverdale.

but...what about hunters burg

what about hfscomm1

Comment removed.
Comment removed.

Whatever. Who the fuck cares?

Comment removed.

Save the printouts

Comment removed.

Matt totally lost me on open kitchens. Most of the closed kitchens in this town are AWFUL.

"vMost of the closed kitchens in this town are AWFUL."

Opening them up to the living areas is NEVER the answer.

So misha2306, what do you think?


Add your comment



Rentals (3,134)
Market (1,512)
Neighborhoods (645)
Boards (307)
Renovation (1,967)
Anything (2,455)
Sales (24,510)
Developments (618)
Financing (506)
Schools (108)
Brokers (383)
Services (523)