Beyond the Stoop – New York Times

“Beyond the Stoop” is an interactive piece by The New York Times that tells the story of various residents occupying brownstones on one of the 70,000 blocks in New York City. This block is South Elliot Place, between Lafayette and Dekald. I found this interactive piece to be compelling because you immediately see photo-by-photo each brownstone on this block. 

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The viewer can get a full view of the block by moving the scroll bar on the bottom back and forth. Each photo was either taken from Google street view or the photographers took them and put them together, since the piece also contains photographs. The viewer can click the “previous” and “next” buttons to read, listen to an audio recording, and view photographs about the residents in various brownstones on this block.

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When “next” is clicked or a cornerstone is selected, a media player box pops up with text, an audio piece, a photo and occasionally a photo slideshow. Each person they interviewed had a very different story. There are various photographs of the interior of these homes and the people residing inside of them. The media is very easy to access and navigate through, because the user can listen to the audio while scrolling through the photo slideshow. The user can hear the story, while visualizing it as well.

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The interactive is overall very simple and easy to navigate. I personally enjoy how they combine the audio with the photos, because we can really get a sense of who these people are and what their lives are like inside of these amazing brownstones that cover the city, almost like the “One in a Million” interactive that we saw in class. Since they use the street view of the block, we can really get a sense of what it looks like as if we are standing outside the homes. By scrolling at the bottom or clicking “Next” we get almost go inside these particular resident’s homes which I find exciting.

The whole idea of “Beyond the Stoop” and the opening screen of the block can almost immediately give me an idea of what the interactive is about. The design is very straightforward and simple. They don’t use distracting colors or strange fonts, but keep the overall tone and design simple while each story is very colorful and diverse in its content.

The content also contains many photographs of the cornerstones and/or their residents from different time periods. These were interesting to compare with it’s current photograph being transparent beside it. This design contributes to the story, because we are always viewing the street view behind the story box that appears. I feel like this interactive is simple in its design and portrays the real-life “street view” and “inside view” of this block.


2 responses to “Beyond the Stoop – New York Times

  1. I think this is a really cool concept to show how diverse a neighborhood can be! The horizontal scrolling gives the feel of walking down the street, and I know that when I walk through neighborhoods I always wonder about the people and lives inside. By that same token, it does have an intrusive feel – like peering into a stranger’s house at night when their lights are on and you can clearly see inside. Google’s street view has been criticized as an invasion of privacy, and I think this interactive page kind of encourages that intrusion.

    Nonetheless, it is well-done and very interesting! I feel like I could spend hours scrolling through, listening to stories and looking at photos. From an interior design standpoint, it is fascinating to see how different people on the same street decorate their houses and why.

    • I agree about the intrusive feel! Ironically, I spent the summer in New York and went out of my way to visit this block and pulled the page up on my phone. I felt like a major creep, but also that I had some sort of connection with the residents. Overall, I think it’s interesting to know the stories and see the diversity of New York in just one block.

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