NEW YORK (AFA Newswire) Construction workers digging the basement for an 18-story Upper West Side condominium were startled to find the remains of an affordable one-bedroom Manhattan apartment that once stood on the site.
"Reasonably priced dwellings were once widely available," insists Francis X. Longon, curator of urban archaeology at the New York Historical Society, adding, "Even in this neighborhood!"
Fragments of a lease discovered amid the rubble reveal that rent for the 500-square-foot dwelling was $750 per month. Remarkably, the apartment, a one-bedroom, one-bath, with a galley kitchen, is believed to have been inhabited by no more than two people and may have housed only a single individual.
Although little is known of the occupants, "Based on what we've uncovered so far," said Longon, "We can surmise that they were avid collectors of Chinese restaurant take-out menus." The only solid clue to their fate is a Village Voice real estate section, with ads highlighted for cheaper, larger apartments in Brooklyn and Hoboken.
As his colleagues carefully sorted through the various artifacts, Longon photographed a knotted yarn wall-hanging that he speculated might have been "Used in some sort of primitive ritual of the day." He paused to take in the scene, remarking wistfully, "To have lived in such a time and place; $750 a month and so close to the park..."