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See 400 years of history on 1 block of NYC

A new project goes hyperlocal—taking on just 486 feet of Greene Street between Houston and Prince Streets in SoHo—to explore cycles of development and decline over 400 years of New York City history.

William Easterly, professor of economics at New York University, traces a single block’s series of reincarnations as a red light district, the center of the garment boom, an artists’ haven, and finally a luxury strip. In doing so, he celebrates the role of individual citizens and entrepreneurs in charting the economic destiny of their neighborhood.

“I think the advantage of looking at things at the local level is you can really see the bottom-up way in which a lot of good things happen,” says Easterly in the video. “And conversely, you can see the possible damage that could be done by somebody trying to exert control from the top down without adequate local knowledge.”

Learn more about this microcosm of history through the interactive, multimedia website.

Source: New York University