Here’s a photo by TREVOR LITTLE, his caption for this shot reads: "Power Washing 188 Suffolk St. With New York City real estate prices so high, owners are fixing up their buildings"
If what Trevor says is true, then I find cleaning buildings as a response to high real estate prices a counter intuitive one - in a way, they’re washing off more than some dust and grime. What’s getting removed there is an historical reference, an ingrained aspect of the neighborhood that reminds the people that live in it of its age, in a way giving the buildings a ‘memory’ which then allows a ‘personality’ to develop. Once that gets removed, I think you lose that aspect. It’s like replacing your worn out and stain ridden couch with a brand new white leather one - sure, it probably looks better but it’s not nearly as comfortable and there isn’t that burn mark on the arm to remind you of that party that got out of control.
The flip side of this removal of history however, is that it becomes a window into history as you can see what the building would have looked like when it was built, in that regard it’s the equivalent of seeing the colour version of a black and white photo, - which is why it always freaks me out when they clean cathedrals - those things are so white!
Still, this isn’t a cathedral, and if I was living on this street and saw them doing that - I’d be moving out.