New York City Tours & Sightseeing | M2M Tours – The Brownstone
Synonymous with New York City – Archetypal, High-Stooped Townhouses that Line the Streets of its Many Neighborhoods
If you’ve ever been to NYC, you’ve probably seen or heard of a “brownstone”. But what exactly is a brownstone? Brownstones occupy a unique place in the New York City psyche, as one of the city’s most prototypical signposts, like yellow cabs and fast walkers, yet are able to stir aching desire and teeth-baring jealousy.
They are actually ‘row houses’ – originating in the 16th century in Europe – where a row of identical or mirror-image houses share side walls. Everybody wants one.
Few structures chart the history and culture of New York than these old homes. Their history is shaped and defined by the families and descendants of the buildings’ original owners, and lives on through efforts made by preservation leagues and private owners.
Part of the reason we all want to buy an old house is because it’s not just a frame building that was just built yesterday and doesn’t have a history – we want a house that holds memories and details of lives past lived – stories of baseball Hall of Famers, murderers, Civil War heroes, unexplained fires, explosions, deceit, corruption, unrequited love, and much, much more.
Brownstone began appearing in New York City buildings in a significant way during the first half of the 19th century, and it quickly became the stone of choice for row house developers. It is really just a brown sandstone which was once a popular building material used by the middle class to clad townhouses – it was less expensive to purchase and install than quarried stone and bricks, used by the more affluent.
However, brownstone is no longer cheap. There are many brownstones throughout numerous New York City neighborhoods, especially in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Park Slope, Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, Cobble Hill, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn Heights, Bedford Stuyvesant, Sunset Park and Bay Ridges. The Manhattan neighborhood of the Upper West Side, too, retains brownstones. New York City brownstones usually cost several million dollars to purchase.
Want to see some of New York City’s most well known brownstones? M2M includes a tour of a number of well known locations on our route. If you’d like to see more, just ask us before your trip and we’ll see what we can do to give you the best sightseeing experience in the city!