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Columbia University Digital Knowledge Ventures The Architecture and Development of New York City with Andrew S. Dolkart
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Six-Story Buildings
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Keeping Them in the City
Six-Story Buildings
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These same styles, the Tudor and the colonial, also begin to appear on working-class and middle-class apartment houses. And a vast sea of six-story apartments in Tudor and colonial and Mediterranean and other suburban-inspired styles appear all over Brooklyn and the Bronx, northern Manhattan, and Queens. And this six-story building typifies the type.

They're six stories for the most part because six-story buildings could have elevators. You could actually have a walk-up up to five stories. And for the middle class you wanted to have an elevator building. So six stories was the maximum that you could build using semi-fireproof construction. So for these more modest middle-class buildings, six stories was as high as they went because once you went higher you had to use fireproof construction, which was much more expensive. So buildings like these at six stories could use some wood in the construction, but they had to have fire escapes, which is why all apartment houses in New York of six stories or less have fire escapes, and those that are more than six stories for the most part do not have fire escapes because they're built of fireproof construction.

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