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Ask Chris: Walkin’ On Broken Glass

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

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 Those glass squares have since been replaced by granite blocks.