There’s a beautiful townhouse in Hamilton Heights on the corner of 147th street.

Stretching for half a block, it’s easy to miss the support beams that extend out to a retaining wall.

There is an set of older rusted metal poles and a newer set that look like steel I-beams.

That cannot be good, is the first thing that occured to me.

It cannot be good that support was needed at all and it cannot be good that it wasn’t enough.

The second question is whether the beams are holding up the wall or the house.

It obviously makes a difference.

There’s nothing like real estate in New York City. It’s so accessible. You can wander around and gawk at apartment buildings and houses from the outside. Or you can go inside at open houses every Sunday.

My father took me to open houses when I was a kid and I have continued to go as an adult even when I’m not seriously looking. It’s always good to have a sense of the market.

I notice different details in my late 50s than I did when I was younger.

I used to focus on the amazing architectural details, the things everyone covets. Now, I cannot help notice the water damage beside gutters, or the mouse droppings, ie the things that can go wrong.

A block away from the townhouse on 147th street there was a rowhouse where part of the limestone fascade fell off earlier this year. The city required the owner to strip the rest off, leaving a strange scar.