We tend to look at new buildings—especially tall ones—as evidence of a city's economic health (or sickness). But renovations are a way deeper statistical pool—which is why this new map of a decade of filings from the Department of Buildings is so interesting. That's ten years and billions of dollars in a single image.
The interactive map comes courtesy of Sweeten, a startup that matches clients with contractors for renovations in NYC. It shows every single renovation file from the Department of Buildings, starting in February 2003 and ending in September of 2013, as a dot—colors are assigned based on budget, ranging from lavender (up to $350k) to mustard (over $1 million).
It's easy to spot patterns (also keep in mind, with all of these maps, that we excluded 2013 because the map only includes nine months of data). For example, check out the explosion of jobs costing more than $1 million around the Central Park—in particular, on the western edge:
Or the creeping gentrification that seems to move from the Lower East Side into Williamsburg, eastward:
There's also a clear lull during the 2008-09 economic downturn in all of these maps. You can also zoom in on one property. For example: A $55 million renovation at the Park Lane Hotel, formerly owned by Leona Helmsley and now converted into residential condos: