year in review

Curbed’s 20 Most-Read Stories in 2021

Photo: nightnurse images, Philip Montgomery, Brian Finke, Getty Images, Kelly Marshall, Daniel Galicia

In 2021, New York City came stuttering — then roaring — back to life, and how (and where) we live and get around became our central preoccupation once again. In this year’s list of Curbed’s most-read stories, readers wanted to know: Where did all the yellow cabs go? And where does mayor-elect Eric Adams actually live? In the realm of design, they also appreciated the grand scale of stories that reimagined New York City streets alongside the humble but lifesaving redesign of a U.S. postal truck. And everyone — and we do mean everyone — seems to have clicked on our exclusive interview with the young Roosevelt Island resident who removed her bathroom mirror and found an entire unoccupied three-bedroom apartment behind it. New Yorkers are known for having dreams about finding extra living space; this one turned out to be the real thing.

This list is measured by total collective minutes of audience engagement. It’s just a small sample of the work Curbed puts out, alongside New York’s print edition and its other five digital sites — Intelligencerthe Cut, Vulture, Grub Street, and the Strategist — and a growing portfolio of newsletters. For more of all of it, be sure to sign up for Curbed’s daily newsletter (along with our stellar listings edit, a highly curated list of the best rental deals across New York City) and to subscribe.

20. So Long to the Hotel Pennsylvania

Photo: Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

A salute to Penn Station’s longtime neighbor: once lovely, now dowdy, soon to be gone. Read the story 

19. Perfecting the New York Street

Photo-Illustration: nightnurse images

We consulted architects and planners to create an achievable, replicable plan — one suited to a city embracing its public spaces as never before. Read the story 

18. Where Did All the Yellow Cabs Go?

Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/Shutterstock

Nearly two-thirds of New York’s taxis are gone, and a lot of them may never come back. Read the story 

17. We Staked Out Eric Adams’s House in Brooklyn

Photo-Illustration: Curbed; Photos: Getty Images, Kevin Dugan, Willy Blackmore

And he came home. Twice! Read the story 

16. Does L.A.’s Tiny-House Village Actually Solve Homelessness?

Photo: Courtesy of Lehrer Architects

The city’s good intentions come with restrictions and, possibly, an ulterior motive. Read the story 

15. Meet the Teen Who Hates 432 Park More Than Anyone

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

She’s an 11th-grader in Vancouver. With opinions. Read the story 

14. Why Your Uber Ride Is Suddenly Costing a Fortune

Photo: Eduardo MunozAlvarez/VIEWpress/Corbis via Getty Images

A driver shortage, customer surplus, and harsh financial reality. Read the story 

13. Inside the Freak-out Housing Market of Upstate New York

Photo-Illustration: Curbed; Photo: dbimages/Alamy Stock Photo

“It just felt like drinking from a fire hose most days.” Read the story 

12. Surfside Towers Broke Building Code From the Beginning

Photo: Giorgio Viera/AFP via Getty Images

“Flawed from day one,” reads one report. Read the story 

11. The Gut Renovation of Ryan Serhant

Photo: Brian Finke

‘Million Dollar Listing’ — and a pandemic market — made a real-estate striver the plutocrat’s broker of choice. Read the story 

10. What’s Going On in Washington Square Park?

Photo: Daniel Galicia for New York Magazine

A 48-hour diary of the ten-acre park where, this summer, everything in the city — protest, jubilation, partying, drug abuse, police action — seemed to be happening at once. Read the story 

9. A Vibrant Reimagining of a 1960s Brooklyn Co-op

Photo: Kelly Marshall

Cassandra Bromfield inherited the apartment from her mother and has made it her own. Read the story 

8. Every Big Vehicle Should Look Like the Weird New USPS Truck

Photo: Courtesy of USPS

We admit it’s goofy-looking, but it’s also a much better design for crowded cities. Read the story 

7. There’s One Thing We Can Learn From the Villages’ Success

Photo: Phelan M Ebenhack/AP/Shutterstock

The fastest-growing town in America is also one in which golf carts replace a lot of car trips. Read the story 

6. Yes, Build the Windowless, Bathroomless Dorm in My Backyard

Photo: UC Santa Barbara

Sure, let the dilettante billionaire have a crack at it. Read the story 

5. I Knew the Vessel Was Going to Have a Suicide Problem

Photo: Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

How a private design process created a public space that is dangerous, even deadly. Read the story 

4. Revolt of the Delivery Workers

Photo: Philip Montgomery

Exploited by apps, attacked by thieves, unprotected by cops: Delivery workers, 65,000 strong, have only themselves to count on. Read the story in English (o lea el reportaje en español aquí) ➼

3. The Still-Wild, Semi-Habitable McKibbin Lofts

Photo: Frankie Alduino

Longtime tenants and new residents alike recall a generation’s worth of Four Loko parties, falling maggots, and first-floor strip clubs. Read the story 

2. The Parallel-Parking Job That Ignited the Internet

Photo: Courtesy of P.E. Moskowitz

It prompted thousands of insults, threats, and moral judgments. Read the story 

1. We Spoke to the Woman From the Apartment-Behind-Mirror Saga

Photo: @samanthartsoe/TikTok

“I was kind of expecting there to be somebody.” Read the story 

Curbed’s 20 Most-Read Stories in 2021