Thaddeus Hyatt

History, Soho, Tribeca

Thaddeus Hyatt, Hyatt Patent Lights, vault lights history, glass sidewalks NYC

Vault lights in Soho, via WooJin Chung for 6sqft

In many parts of Soho and Tribeca, the sidewalks are made from small circular glass bulbs instead of solid concrete. Known as “hollow sidewalks” or “vault lights,” the unique street coverings are remnants from the neighborhood’s industrial past when they provided light to the basement factories below before electricity was introduced. These skylight-like sidewalks first came about in the 1840s when these neighborhoods were transitioning from residential to commercial and when their signature cast iron buildings first started to rise.

Find out more about their history

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTERS

Thank you, your sign-up request was successful!
This email address is already subscribed, thank you!
Please provide a valid email address.
Please complete the CAPTCHA.
Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later.