In urban architecture, a stoop is a small staircase ending in a platform and leading to the entrance of an apartment building or other building.
Traditionally, the function of stoops in New York City was to provide formal access from the street to the principal or parlor floor, where the private living quarters in a single-family residence began. Both the parlor and dining room were on this floor. The kitchen and other service offices were in the basement, which had its own entrance on the street, usually a few steps below grade, and an interior staircase connected the basement with the parlor floor.
This arrangement was well suited to the single-family row houses that dominated New York until the end of the 19th century. Family and guests, by using the stoop, avoided tromping through the service section of the house. Deliveries of foodstuff and other supplies were made at the basement entrance, ensuring the privacy and order of the living quarters above