Ask Chris: Walkin’ On Broken Glass


Q: What happened to the glass sidewalks at 5th and Broadway? Did they really

A: Almost a hundred years ago, transparent square cubes were installed as ceilings to let in light for basement storage rooms, but cheap electricity made their use obsolete by the 1930s. Some of the pieces are so fragile, they’re a public hazard, including the six-foot stretch on Broadway that shattered under the weight of a heavy cart in 2009. Those glass squares have since been replaced by granite blocks.

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  • Bill Counter

    It’s certainly nothing I’ve done a survey of, but we can probably find many of these little “daylight basement” chunks of glass remaining. The men’s room at the Palace Theatre comes to mind where you can see shadows of people walking overhead when you’re at the urinals.