Oddities

NYC PENTHOUSES WERE BUILT FOR SERVANTS; SOMETHING CHANGED

Before the 1920s, New York City rooftops were nothing more than damp hovels. Pipes snaked between grim water towers. Chimneys spewed sheets of dark soot. Broken glass rustled with every gust of wind. But the servants put up with it because it was home. In fact, they occupied the city’s first penthouses, poorly insulated clapboard structures constructed off-book and high out of sight. Then—wait for it—wealthy young bohemians took note, and moved in.   In the early 20th century, Manhattan was running out of space. Four-story mansions had long outspent their practicality, and architects were pioneering apartment living. But as more people were able to crowd onto Read More

Off the Grid Living: A Homemade Island in Vancouver

Floating off the coast of Vancouver Island, a 45-minute boat ride to the nearest town, is a sustainable island fortress complete with a dance floor, art gallery and garden. For artists Catherine King and Wayne Adams, this is home: a labor of love 24 years in the making. This story is a part of our Human Condition series. Come along and let us connect you to some of the most peculiar, stirring, extraordinary, and distinctive people in the world. Great Big Story is a video network dedicated to the untold, overlooked & flat-out amazing. Humans are capable of incredible things & we’re here to tell their stories. Read More