Skip links

Not Actually A Survey Marker

Looks just like a survey marker, doesn’t it? It’s not. It’s related to surveying but it serves a very different role.

Starting with the 1960 revision of the New York Zoning Resolution (the law that governs how big buildings can be in the city and puts limits on their shapes, as well as defining what uses are allowed where), a lot of tall buildings here have had plazas of various types at grade. There were a handful of such plazas before the 1960 zoning, but they became common afterwards. For various legal reasons, it’s necessary that the owners of buildings with plazas make sure that it’s clear where the plaza (their private property) ends and the sidewalk (public property) starts. That’s what this marker is doing: it’s showing a corner of the plaza for 85 Broad Street (across the street from our office). In the photo, the plaza is up and to the right of this marker; everything else is sidewalk.

It may be time to start photographing property-line markers like this one…