The bedrock underlying Manhattan is tenacious enough that many streets north of Harlem and far into the Bronx end in stairways. The precipitous topography outlived efforts to dynamite it.
My block has a few flights of cement pedestrian steps where Pinehurst Street gets too steep to be a road. This stretch of stairs is dominated each April by a large 15 year old Wisteria vine. The Garden club put a sign up to describe it:
"This beautiful wisteria vine came from a 6" plant grown from seed by the late Sona Kunter. It survived the 2001-2002 reconstruction of the steps and garden because Sona stopped by every day to remind the workers to take care of it. Please don't pick the flowers -- they don't survive off the vine!"
Downtown has a rich assortment of venerable vines too, e.g. the vine photo at Matthew Schiavello blog.