The white brick buildings in New York were built during the 1950s and 1960s when troops were returning from which would further the housing shortage. The white bricks were meant to make the buildings looks like clean beacon in the dirty city and the glazed bricks were also keep the inner walls dry.
However, water eventually seeped in and became trapped preventing by the glaze from quickly evaporating. The water would expand, thanks the thaw and freeze cycles of the winter, putting pressure on the glaze and finally causing deterioration/cracks. This also became an expensive problem to fix:
This pattern has plagued dozens of buildings in the city — some of them subject to landmark protection, like 900 Fifth Avenue, which replaced its facade about three years ago. And it threatens many more, like 2 Fifth Avenue, which has been struggling over a renovation now estimated at almost $31 million.