Andrew Alpern gave a talk at the New York Public Library a few weeks ago about the newest edition of his book “Holdouts! The Buildings That Got in the Way.”  He ended with a neutral statement: “Holdouts are neither all good nor all bad. They simply are.”  But it seemed to me that his sentiments leaned toward the negative.

Alpern opened his illustrated presentation with the image of a lonely, two-story building on an otherwise cleared city block, saying, “This is not a holdout.  It is the container of a holdout.”

Holdouts are the people who refuse to sell their property to make way for new developments.  You can see the results of holdouts throughout the city, wherever a tiny building is squished between two towers (one example: 592 Eighth Avenue).

This sort of sight always makes me smile; I think I would like to live in the little building. Continue reading “”