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Progressive Housing

in New York City:


A Closer Look at Mod el Tenements
an d F in nish Coop eratives

BY
Xsusha Carl yann Fl andro, Christine Huh, Negin Maleki,
Mar iana S arango-Manaças & Jennifer Schork

 
  Co lumbia Gr aduate School of Architectur e, Preser vation and Planning:
H istor ic Pr eservation Studio Spr ing 2008 with Pro fessor Andr ew D olkart 1
Acknowledgement
We’d like to thank our patient studio advisor, Professor and Architectural Historian; Andrew
Dolkart for his guidance and assistance in this project. Without his help we would have never
completed the semester and made as much progress as we did. We hope that our time and
research will be useful to social and architectural historians and invite all those who are
interested to use it.

Xsusha Flandro, Christine Huh, Negin Maleki, Mariana Sarango-Manacas & Jennifer Schork

 
 
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Table of Contents
Item Page

Introduction……………………………………………………………………………..4

Chapter 1: The Historic Context of Progressive Housing……………………………....5

A. The History of Model Tenements……………………………….......9

B. The History of Housing Limited Dividend Cooperatives…………...11

Chapter 2: Women’s Involvement in Progressive Housing……………………………..15

Chapter 3: Model Tenements……………………………………………………………24

A. Architectural Analysis ……………………………………………..24

B. De Forest Conditions Survey…………………………………….....35

Chapter 4: Finnish Limited Dividend Cooperatives…………………………………….39

A. Discovering the Finnish Cooperatives………………...…………..39

B. Alku II Conditions Survey…………………………………………58

Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………....60

Bibliography…………………………………………………………………………….62

Selected Bibliography…………………………………………………………………...66

Appendix………………………………………………………………………………...68

 
 
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Introduction

Over the last three months our studio group has undertaken a survey and study progressive housing:
model tenements and cooperative housing complexes that lie within the New York City limits. Before our
group encountered this project some research had been done on this type of housing but a complete
survey had not been completed. We started our research without a true definition of progressive housing
but through our findings we have come up with a working definition of the phrase:

Progressive Housing: homes that were meant for the hourly wage earner (ex: clerk,
bricklayer, carpenter, chauffer, etc.) and their families; the layout and plans of the
buildings were meant to be an improvement on earlier plans and most progressive
housing was also subsidized in some way making it affordable to wage earners.

Upon the conclusion of our survey we found roughly ninety progressive housing buildings that are still
extant in New York City. Images and details are includes in the appendix to this paper. These buildings
can further be divided into two categories, the model tenements and limited dividend cooperatives.

Finnish Cooperative‐ Model Tenement‐
Riverview Cooperatives
Hartley Open Stair Tenements
673‐83 41st Street, Brooklyn
(525 West 47th Street, Manhattan)

 
 
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Chapter 1- The Historic Context of
Progressive Housing

The two major factors contributing to the introduction of progressive housing in New York City
were the living conditions of the poor and the massive population of the city. These two forces
working together created a housing crisis that continues even today, evident by the high cost of
land in the city. By 1865 the city’s population was just over eight-hundred thousand, half of
which lived in tenement buildings. 1 The majority of these buildings were built on the standard
sized lot, established by the 1811 grid system, one-hundred feet long and twenty-five feet wide.
The buildings were long and narrow and abutted each other on the long sides. There were only
windows on the front and rear facades, leaving the interior rooms in the buildings with no
exposure to natural light, these buildings also had little, if no, plumbing on the interiors.

Previous civic efforts had helped with the conditions of housing and had resulted in strong
private interaction as well as small amounts of government legislation. The creation of the New
York City Council of Hygiene a Citizens Association and the Department of Survey and
Inspection of Buildings were two such results. A survey of the 15,309 tenement buildings in New
York City was completed by the Council of Hygiene and was published in 1865. 2 The report
cited the following conditions: “filth, overcrowding, lack of privacy and domesticity, lack of
ventilation and lighting and absence of supervision and of sanitary regulation.” 3

These housing conditions continued to linger well into the twentieth century as the population
exploded to three times its size in thirty-five years and the amount of tenement buildings
quintupled to 80,000 in 1900. 4

At the government level, three major legislations were passed to combat the problems of
tenement houses. The first of which was in 1867 with the passage of the Tenement House Law.
This law legally defined a tenement as:

                                                            
1
 Citizen’s Association of New York, 1865, p. lxix. 
2
 Citizen’s Association of New York, 1865, p. lxix.  
3
Citizen’s Association of New York, 1865, p. lxxvi. 
4
 Pluntz, p. 30. 

 
 
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Any house, building, or portion thereof, which is rented, leased, let or hired out to
be occupied or is occupied, as the home or residence of more than three families
living independently of one another and doing their own cooling on the premises,
or by having more than two families upon a floor, so living cooking and having a
common right in the halls, stairways, yards, water-closets, or privies or some of
them. 5

Not limiting this legislation to nearly the definition of a tenement, it also required existing and
new buildings to have fire-escapes installed (on non-fireproof constructions), there were
minimum ceiling heights, one water closet was required for every twenty people (which had to
be connected to the municipal sewer), and three foot transoms had to be provided over the doors
of all interior bedrooms. 6

The second legislation was completed with the passing of the 1879 Tenement Act, a revision of
the 1867 law. This act changed the footprint of tenement buildings, it required windows facing
the street, backyard or light shaft in all interior rooms, and the maximum lot coverage was set at
65% (although city officials in charge of enforcing lot coverage often heeded to real estate
investors and the buildings were allowed to cover 80% of the lot 7 ). The result was the ever
present dumbbell tenement (also referred to as “old-law” tenements). The act also required more
toilets in each building. Unfortunately, these changes to the building laws did little to improve
the conditions inside of the tenement buildings. The light shafts were ineffective for apartments
more than one floor down from the roof, became flues during a fire and a place where refuse
regularly collected. 8

The next development was the 1901 Tenement House Act, again a revision to the previous
amendment. The 1901 act increased the lot coverage to an enforceable 70%, the airshaft
dimensions were expanded to court sized proportions, height restrictions were imposed on new
constructions, and toilets and running water were required for each individual apartment. These
amendments were also more thoroughly enforced through the simultaneous creation of the new
Building Bureau and Bureau of Inspection. Buildings constructed under this legislation are
                                                            
5
 Laws of New York, Chapter 85, Section 13 (1867).b 
6
 Dolkart, p. 60. 
7
 Dolkart, p. 61, and Plunz, p. 24. 
8
 Dolkart, p. 61. 

 
 
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referred to as “New-Law” tenements. It must be noted that the majority of progressive housing
was built under this act.

Progressive housing made up only a very small percentage of total new constructions during the
late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the poor living conditions of the over crowded
older tenements remained as a constant threat to those living during this time.

 
 
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These photographs span 40 years of tenement living  conditions in New York City.

“266 Elizabeth St., N.Y. 3:00 
P.M., February 2, 1912. It is 
a licensed tenement and 
finishing of clothes was 
going on in the homes”‐
Lewis Hine.
Photograph from Library of 
Congress Digital Archives 

Shared water closet inside 
a tenement house,1907
Photograph from the NYPL 
Digital Collection

Baby in Slum 
Overcrowded  Tenement, 1888
tenements, 1927 Photograph by Jacob 
Photograph from the NYPL  Riis, acquired from the Library of 
  Digital Collection  Congress Digital Archives 
 

25’ 50’
Pre‐Law Tenement New‐Law Tenement‐ 1901
‐1879   25’
“D umbbell” Tenement‐ Old –Law
1879‐1901
 
 
* Floor plans reproduced from Slu ms and Hous in g V. II: p lates 4, 5 and 11, res pectively.
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A. Model Tenement History
With the United States government hesitant to intervene in housing problems (the government
saw this as an invasion on private property rights), civic groups, architects and philanthropists
began to look for possible solutions to the housing conditions in New York in foreign projects,
particularly in Britain and France. In 1848 the World’s Fair was hosted in London and Prince
Albert debut his “Model Houses for Families,” a model tenement which was subsequently built
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in Bloomsbury, England. Each apartment was cross ventilated- all rooms had windows that
faced either the street of the generously sized courtyard and the staircases were moved to the
exterior of the construction, eliminating any dark hallways. The architect, Henry Roberts, was an
active member of the Society for Improving Conditions of the Labouring Classes, a civic group
founded in the late Victorian, publically minded era. As part of the society’s charter and
dedication to making better housing obtainable to the working classes they set their profit
dividend at four percent. Any profit exceeding this would then be put back into the building to
make it better or used to keep the rents low. The design was further developed on by Sir Sydney
Waterlow and his Improved Dwellings Company for their building in London in 1863, the plans
for these buildings were the first English plans to be published in the U.S. and were done so in
the Council of Hygiene Report in 1865 10 . This form of building and financing were also used for
model houses in France.

Specific architects that traveled and investigated these model houses included James E. Ware,
Henry Atterbury Smith, Grosvenor Atterbury, Ernest Flagg, and I.N. Phelps-Stokes and
philanthropists Alfred Treadway-White, Olivia Sage (Mrs. Russell Sage), Caroline and Olivia
Phelps-Stokes and Ann Harriman Vanderbilt. Once back in the United States they used not only
the design ideas gathered from the model houses but also the financing scheme.

The first successful model tenements to be erected in New York City were the Home Building
and the Tower Building in Brooklyn. Financed by Alfred Treadway-Wright and designed by
William Field and Son they were completed in 1877 and a translation of the plans by Waterlow
and his company. Both buildings are six stories high have open stairs and provide amenities such
as a sink, a washtub and a water closet. The buildings only cover 52 percent of the lot, with only
                                                            
9
 Tarn, p. 18. 
10
 Plunz, p. 88.  

 
 
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one interior room receiving no natural light. The floor plan was an improvement over the
speculative tenements that were being built at the same time (pre-law and old law tenements).
These buildings are protected from exterior change and demolition by their placement on the list
of New York City Landmarks.

Women held a particular roll in the development of progressive housing, again looking to Britain
from the 1860’s and earlier “many women in towns and cities in Britain devoted themselves to
voluntary work.” 11 They wanted to take initiatives in housing reform because the interior of
homes were the one place that women were strictly in charge of. Frustrated by their inability to
work directly with the poor due to social norms, women set up settlement houses and teams of
volunteers in attempts to befriend and help the poor. This roll continued and expanded in the
United States with the formation of settlement houses in poor neighborhoods, the creation of
active civic groups, such as the League of Mothers’ Club and through the financing of model
tenements by women, such as the Shively Sanitary Tenements by Ann Harriman Vanderbilt.

It is important to note that model tenements made up only a very small amount of tenement
buildings built in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

The following seven model tenements are designated New York City Landmarks or protected by
being contributing buildings to a historic district:
1. Home Building- Brooklyn
2. Tower Building- Brooklyn
3. Shively Sanitary Tenements (East River Homes)- Manhattan
4. City & Suburban York Avenue Estates- Manhattan
5. City & Suburban 1st Avenue Estates- Manhattan
6. Astral Apartments- Brooklyn
7. Riverside Buildings- (in historic district)-Brooklyn

                                                            
11
 Darling and Whitworth, p. 17. 

 
 
10
“Model Houses for Families”
Bloomsbury, England 1850, by Prince Albert &  “Tower Building”
architect Henry Roberts.  Brooklyn‐ the first successful  model tenements in Greater New 
York, erected 1876–79 by Alfred T. White
Photograph ‐Tarn p. 19.
 

B. Limited Dividend Cooperative History


To understand how cooperative housing systems work it is really important to look back at the
history of the cooperative movement. The two cooperative movements that we are interested in
are either based off of one of the earliest cooperatives, started in England or the cooperatives
from Finland. Cooperative ideas and principles were transferred to the United States through
immigration.

The Rochdale Cooperative was started in 1844 in Rochdale, England; coinciding with the
development of the model tenement. It was founded by a group of cloth weavers who were being
forced out of their careers due to the advancement of the industrial revolution. They were losing
their jobs and subsequently their homes because they were no longer seen as valuable workers,
as their jobs could be done by machines:

From all around came reports of weavers clothed in rags, who had sold all their
furniture, who worked 16 hours a day yet lived on a diet of oatmeal, potatoes,
onion porridge and treacle. No minimum wage existed and salaries were
commonly below the equivalent of 10 pence per week in modern terms. Moreover,
pollution had increased and public sanitation system was both poor in quality and

 
 
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quantity. In fact, in 1848 the mean life expectancy in Rochdale was only 21
years. 12

Their want for better living conditions is an obvious result. This cooperative movement was
based off of the writings and teachings of Robert Owen and Dr. William King of Brighton. Owen
founded the Economist magazine ten years earlier and used it as a platform to express his strong
views and beliefs about self government. In the May 13th, 1848 issue speaking about government
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legislation on housing he says, “they have always been more productive of evil than good.”
Dr. William King of Brighton, founded the Co-Operator Magazine and in his monthly
publication he showed people how they could use what little monetary gain they had as a group
to start a cooperative. He worked out a system of capital gain by profits derived from the
collective sell of goods, which was then distributed evenly among the share holders. This differs
from regular “co-ops” of today, which distributes profits to the purchasers based on the amount
of their total purchases.

The weavers put these financial principles into action and started their cooperative by charging
three pounds to buy a share (making the share holder a partial owner). Starting with twenty eight
members they were able to take the money gathered, through the selling of the shares, to open a
cooperative food store. The members would then be able to buy food at the store for a lesser size
price than the market price and if any profit was gained it by the store it was distributed evenly
among the members. This style of cooperative was based on open and voluntary enrollment,
democratic control, limited return if any, net surplus belonged to the members and owners,
honest business practices, education and their ultimate aim was the advancement of the common
good. 14

In 1861 they used the same principles used to start the food cooperative to start the housing
cooperative. They wanted to build better houses for those of the working class, and by the end of
the nineteenth century they owned and built over 300 homes. 15

The second and largest area where cooperation was to be found in the world in the nineteenth
century was Finland. The first Finnish publication of the Rochdale system was in 1866. Prior to
                                                            
12
 University of Texas, The History of the Rochdale Cooperative.  
13
Tarn, p. 9. 
14
 Reeves, p. 29. 
15
 University of Texas, The History of the Rochdale Cooperative. 

 
 
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this time the Finns had banned together with formal rules and purposes to make living in the
harsh climate easier. A direct correlation between these early groups and the cooperative
movement has yet to be established, but it did make them more susceptible to the idea of
cooperation. However, after the publication of the Rochdale principles, co-operations in Finland
skyrocketed.

Cooperative movements first took hold in the larger cites in Finland and then spread to the more
rural areas. In 1898, Axel Granstrom, the Secretary of the Board of Trade and Industry in
Finland, published his book in Finnish, Cooperative Self-Help Societies. One year later the
“Father of Finnish Cooperatives,” Hannes Gebhard, published his book, Agriculture Cooperation
in Other Lands. 16 At the same time Gebhard, who was a university professor, started Pellervo, an
informational system set up to spread the gospel of cooperation and to help established
cooperative movements. He sent 150 students to the more rural areas of Finland to help spread
information about cooperatives. The number of local cooperative societies increased 250 percent
between 1904 and 1908, 17 and by 1914 two thirds of the Finnish population was in some way
part of the cooperative movement. 18

The Finnish housing cooperative system was based on non-profit principles, meaning that each
apartment was worth one share, both in purchasing and selling. The owner of the share would
receive the same amount of money that she/he bought the apartment for when they decide to sell
it, regardless of speculative market prices. Along with the purchase of the share, each share
holder also gains one “vote.” When decisions are made about the building (repairs etc.) each
share holder will have one vote. In profit cooperative housing (the majority of co-ops now
present in New York City) a share holder could possibly have more than one vote if their
apartment is worth more than the others, the worth of the apartment could be based on its and
location in the building, these co-ops are also sold and purchased at market value rates. More
about the financing of Finnish Cooperatives in the United States will be discussed further in a
later chapter.

                                                            
16
 Marshall, p. 228.  
17
 Marshall, p. 229. 
18
 Reeves, p. 89. 

 
 
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Through large immigrant populations to the United States in the early parts of the twentieth
century, cooperative movements were transplanted. The first cooperative housing in the United
States was established by Finnish immigrants in the Sunset Park area of Brooklyn.

The following cooperative housing complexes are designated as New York City Landmarks:
1. The United Worker’s Colony- Bronx
2. Dunbar Apartments- Manhattan (first cooperative apartments for African Americans)

Please note that at this time none of the Finnish Cooperatives in Brooklyn are protected by
Landmark designation or by being part of a historic district.

Housing cooperatives in Katajanokka, Finland Cooperative News, serving as the Rochdale
(Built around 1901)   Cooperative weekly newspaper since 1871.
Photograph from Wikipedia.org‐ Article on Katajonoka Cover from 1890 edition.
Image from: University of Texas

 
 
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Chapter 2- Women’s Involvement in
Progressive Housing

Women became involved in progressive housing in NYC in the early 1900s, when they started to
realize the awful and unsanitary conditions in which poor and low-income people lived. Women
identified themselves with domestic issues such as housing, since they thought their role in
society was that of mothers and wives.

A big personality involved in the Housing Reform Movement in NYC was Josephine Shaw
Lowell. Mrs. Lowell was a social reformer and a philanthropist who influenced legislation and
organizations in order to create modern programs for the poor and needy. She worked with the
State Charities Aid Association for which she wrote reports on the need for adequate facilities
for the poor. These reports impressed Governor Samuel J. Tilden who, in 1876, appointed her as
Commissioner of the State Board of Charities, becoming the first woman in this position.

Josephine Shaw Lowell Samuel J. Tilden


Image from the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities web site. Image from Wikipedia web site.

Among her many achievements were the founding of important organizations such as the Charity
Organization Society of the City of New York in 1882, the House of Refuge for Women in 1886,
the Women’s Municipal League in 1894, and the Civil Service Reform Association of New York

 
 
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State in 1895. Of these organizations, the Charity Organization Society of the City of New York
was among her greatest achievements. The Society gave form and direction to all the efforts of
distinguished philanthropists in New York. Its primary concern was to distinguish between the
deserving and the undeserving poor sine they believed that giving out charity without
investigating the problems behind poverty created a class of citizens that would always be
dependent on people giving them money.

Josephine Shaw Lowell influenced a number of women into becoming more involved with social
problems. Among these women were Lillian Wald, who in 1893 founded the Henry Street
Settlement where she taught health and hygiene to immigrant women in the impoverished Lower
East Side; and Mary Kingsbury Simkhovitch, who in 1902 founded the Greenwich House in
order to improve the living conditions among the predominately immigrant population in
Greenwich Village.

Lillian Wald Henry Street Settlement


Image from the Encyclopedia Britannica web site. Image from the New York Architecture Images web site.

With Josephine Shaw Lowell as their leader, women became more involved in the progressive
housing movement by becoming philanthropists in the subject. They started reacting to the
terrible conditions in which low-income people lived by funding projects that provided better
housing conditions. Women as philanthropists could only donate money under their husbands’

 
 
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name unless they were windows or never married, thus becoming philanthropists in their own
right.

Mary Kingsbury Simkhovitch Greenwich House


Image from the Unitarian Universalist Organization web site. Image from the Barrow Street Theatre web site.

An important figure in the philanthropic world was Margaret Olivia Sage, most commonly
known as Mrs. Russell Sage. Mrs. Sage was very interested in social problems and in improving
the living conditions of the less privileged. When her husband, Russell Sage, died in 1906, he
left her an approximate of 75 million dollars with which she founded the Russell Sage
Foundation in 1907 as a memorial for her husband. The main goal of the Russell Sage
Foundation was to promote the improvement of social and living conditions for the poor. The
Foundation was very active in the development of social work and urban planning as
professions, it published books and articles about social welfare, and sponsored progressive
activities.

 
 
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Margaret Olivia Sage Russell Sage
Image from Crocker, p. 196. Image by Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

In 1908 the foundation, under the advice of Robert Weeks de Forest, donated the money to build
Forest Hills Gardens, a model housing project in Queens. De Forest was a layer who had been
involved in the Reform Housing Movement for years and whose firm represented Russell Sage.
Mrs. Sage thought the suburbs, as she refer to the outer boroughs, needed better and more
attractive facilities for low-income families. She had been in England and had the idea of
recreating its garden cities in the suburbs, where the buildings or houses could be surrounded by
flowers and gardens and had accessibility to playgrounds and recreation facilities. She also
believed that the buildings for this complex should be of, quote, “tasteful design, constructed in
brick, cement, or other permanent material, even though of somewhat greater initial cost are
more economical in durability and lesser repair bills”, end quote. The idea was to provide
healthful homes at low rates so that families of modest means would be able to afford good
housing conditions and, by proving this method to work, encourage other such projects.

 
 
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Robert Weeks de Forest Forest Hills Gardens, 1913
Image from Crocker, p. 202. Image from Klaus, p. 91

Another such woman was Anne Harriman Vanderbilt, wife of William K. Vanderbilt, Sen.. She
dedicated herself to philanthropic causes and was concern with the problems of poor people in
New York, for which she was active in helping unfortunate children.

Ann Harriman Vanderbilt William K. Vanderbilt


Image from Lewis, p. 173. Image from Lewis, p. 173.

 
 
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In 1910 she was approached by Dr. Henry Shively to help fund housing for tuberculosis patients,
for which she agreed to build what would then become the Shively Sanitary Tenements. Dr.
Shively was the head of the Vanderbilt Clinic and was concerned in finding efficient treatments
for the disease. He thought patients would benefit of living in a building that had, quote, “all the
positives features of a sanatorium treatment brought to the patients in their own home”, end
quote.

The Shively Sanitary Tenements housed low-income tuberculosis patients and their families. It
was believed that fresh air cured the disease for which the architect, Henry Atterbury Smith,
provided every apartment with a balcony, a building complex with an open stair design, a roof
space, and a park-overlooking location for this purpose. Furthermore, the buildings at the New
York City designated landmark had electricity instead of gas with the purpose of keeping and
environment of fresh air and healing conditions for the tenants.

Shively Sanitary Tenements Shively Sanitary Tenements Plan


Image from Dolkart, “East River Houses” Image from Plunz, p. 103.

The Tuskegee was another model tenement funded by philanthropic women, as were Caroline
and Olivia E. Phelps-Stokes. The Phelps-Stokes sisters came from a wealthy family and grew up
traveling around the world and witnessing other types of living conditions, which later in life
they would witness in their own city. Caroline and Olivia were reverent Christians and believed
that nobody should be discriminated regardless of color, race, or station. They were very

 
 
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interested in creating better life conditions for American minorities, such as African and Native
Americans, in education, in advancing the Christian religion, and in improving housing for the
poor. The Tuskegee was a six-story model tenement for African American families designed by
their nephew’s, I. N. Phelps-Stokes, architectural firm, Howells & Stokes, in 1901.

The Tuskegge Phelps-Stokes Properties


Image from Lubove, p. 81. Own image.

In 1910, Olivia funded another model tenement in honor to her sister Caroline, who died in 1909.
These two buildings had open stairs, dropped balconies, and raised sills. Caroline endowed a
large part of her will to the creation of the Phelps-Stokes Fund specifying that the income be
used, quote, “for the creation and improvement of tenement housing in New York City, for
educational purposes in the education of Negroes both in Africa and the Unites Stated, North
American Indians, and needy and deserving white students”, end quote. In 1915, Olivia gave to
the Fund two more improved model tenements she had funded for African American families

Other important women involved in the progressive housing movement and who also funded
model tenements were Helen Hartley Jenkins, who funded the Hartley Open Stair Tenements in
1912; Laura Billings, who funded the Billings model tenements in 1901; and Josephine L. De
Forest, who funded the De Forest Fireproof Tenements in 1905. Even though Mrs. De Forest
died before the building was finished, she showed interest and involvement in the progressive
housing movement by erecting a seven-story fireproof model tenement that housed 53 families
and was built out of steel and concrete, which floors were proofed to save more space for living
areas.

 
 
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These women established a tradition of female involvement in philanthropy in social and
housing work that continued in following years in policy-making, planning, design, and
administration, as opposed to companies dedicated to the building of model tenements where the
shareholders did not have an active and direct participation within the housing reform movement.

A very influential woman involved in planning, administration, and policy-making related to the
Housing Reform Movement in NYC was Edith Elmer Wood, who wrote books and articles in
order to inform people about current living conditions of the less privileged and to promote a
movement that would deal with these kind of social issues. In 1911 she moved to Washington
and joined a campaign to get rid of the capital’s slums and it was then that she began questioning
the effectiveness of the progressive reforms and decided to further study the subject. She
believed that because the housing reform movement was not backed by the state and local
government it had no control over law enforcement for better housing conditions and that it
would never work as it should be until this was incorporated.

In 1915 she moved to NYC in order to be at the center of the housing movement. Her book, The
Housing of the Unskilled Wage Earner, provided the first exhaustive survey of American
housing efforts and an analysis of its results. It also redefined the housing problem and placed its
solution in community planning and government subsidies, for which it proposed a legislative
outline in order to accomplish this. Mrs. Wood believed that the problem of housing reform laid
on the functioning of capitalism and the use of housing codes, as opposed to some earlier
reformers who pointed the problem to poor living conditions given by the landlords. She thought
that the new industrial system, which required more workers at low wages, was the cause for
slums since there was more area occupation and not enough earned money for these workers to
afford to move to different and better spaced areas. Furthermore, this was made even worse with
the passage of the new law, which did not allow cheaper housing.

Edith Elmer Wood did not believe that the housing reform movement was progressive or
effective. She believed that in order for low-income people to be able to afford a decent housing
environment the community and government had to be involved.

Following the steps of Edith Elmer Wood, women were fighting for better housing conditions
before and after the Great depression and urging the government for involvement and

 
 
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development of housing for families living in conditions of poverty. They were so interested in
the housing problem that they created clubs and societies specifically oriented to this, such as the
Women’s Municipal League of the City of New York, the League of Mother’s Clubs, and the
Association to Promote Proper Housing for Girls, Inc., among others. They also made use of
newspapers, bulletins and magazines oriented to women in order to raise awareness on the
subject among other women. For example, the Women and the City’s Work was a bulletin
issued weekly and addressed housing problems in a political way by involving city and state
officers.

The organizations created by these women performed a number of studies to try to determine
what the cause was for people to live under these housing conditions.

Between 1928 and 1932 the League of Mother’s Clubs performed a study called Tenements and
Tenants on 1104 tenement families in which they showed how families struggled during the
depression by showing their income, rent, and housing conditions before the depression in 1928,
and after it in 1932. By comparing and analyzing the information gathered in these 2 years they
were able to determine how the income, rent, and housing conditions of these 1104 families were
affected over this 4-year period.

Among their findings they realized than more than half of the group was in conditions of poverty
and that they were dependent on agencies, the state or city relief, or starving. Some of them,
which represented the 27% of the group, had incomes between $1000 and $1500 per year and
were so close to the Minimum Subsistence Level that any accident or loss of earnings even for a
small period of time would have brought them into the dependent group. In 1932, 40% of the
group was unemployed and thus had no means to afford rent and food for their family members.
Furthermore, there was no positive relationship between the amount earned and the amount spent
for rent, which meant that the amount spent for rent was not dependent upon the family income.

These types of studies not only addressed the housing problems but also raised awareness among
social groups and, ultimately, gave way to the subsidized housing projects developed by the New
York City Housing Authority starting in the mid 1930s.

 
 
23
Chapter 3-The Model Tenements
A. Model Tenement Architectural Analysis 
Throughout our research we discovered over thirty two model tenement properties that are still
standing. For the purpose of this paper we choose to focus our research on three properties. Two
of which were financed by women philanthropist and all of which lie in Manhattan: The De
Forest Fire Proof Tenements, The Hartley Open Stair Tenements and The Bishop Model
Tenements.

De Forest Fire Proof Tenements Harley Open Stair Tenements Bishop Model Tenements


1905 1912 1901‐1902
205 East 27th Street‐ Manhattan 525 West 47th Street‐ Manhattan 60 Hester Street‐ Manhattan
Funded by: Josephine L. De Forest Funded by: Mrs. Helen Hartley Jenkins Funded by: Cortlandt & DW Bishop
Architect: Ernest Flagg Architect: Henry Atterbury Smith &  Architect: Ernest Flagg
William P. Miller

The Bishop Model Tenements were the earliest built of the three. Erected in 1901 by Cortland
and D.W. Bishop with the architect Ernest Flagg, this building stands on 60 Hester Street in the
Lower East Side. The Bishop tenement provides a good example of exterior model tenement
construction. Buff colored brick was used in alternating courses of headers and stretchers, the
windows are stacked vertically giving the building a verticality that it would otherwise be
lacking. The only other place that another masonry material is used is in the lintels and sills
where limestone has been inserted. The building is topped by a relatively small and simple
cornice. The building does not have any other decoration; it is an austere façade but an effective
one. The goal here was to create a good building, not a fancy one, and it has succeeded because it
still stands in good condition 107 years after its construction date.

 
 
24
The interior tells a different story. Another goal of the model tenements were to establish a
quality of life on the interior that was unobtainable in dumbbell tenements. The Bishop Model
Tenements were not as successful in this area. At the time of completion there were nine
apartments per floor, some with windows that all faced the light court, residence would have to
pass through a bedroom to get to the restroom and the kitchen and living rooms were combined
into one.

After looking at different plans for model tenements it quickly became apparent that we would
have to come up with a way to objectively assess these buildings on the interiors, thereby
revealing whether or not they were really progressive in terms of interior design and layout. We
looked extensively at the literature that was published on model tenements printed during the
period of model tenement construction in New York City (see bibliography and selected
bibliography for references), and came up with seventeen pieces of criteria that were cited as
being important in model tenement layout design. Each of these criteria were given a numeric
value, ventilation questions made up 46 points, crowding 44 points, amenities 24 points and
privacy 18 points, totaling 132 points. A plan that earned all 132 points would be our marking
point as a layout that was one-hundred percent progressive with its interior layout. All three
plans underwent this evaluation. The plans used, the complete results and a brief written
summary can be found on the following pages.

   

   

 
 
25
 
 
  

26
Criterion used to evaluate model tenement interior layouts
 
 
 
Street
Street

Bishop Model Tenements- Ground floor plan Bishop Model Tenements-


Plan for floors two through six

27
 
 
 

28
Bishop Model Tenements- Numerical Analysis
 
 
Street

De Forest Fireproof Tenements- Floor plan for floors two through seven, plan for floor one is identical

29
except it doesn’t have the three street facing apartments in the front.
 
 

30
De Forest Fireproof Tenements- Numerical Analysis
 
 
 
Hartley O pen S tair T enements ‐ Upper floor plans *
*B ecause we were unable to locate the original floor plans for this building, we found one with the same foot print , same lot siz e and built four years earlier 
to complete our analysis. Image from S lums and Hous ing V. II P late 13. 

31
 
 

32
Hartley Open Stair Tenements- Numerical Analysis
Bishop Model Tenements- This tenement building rated as being only twenty-nine percent
progressive. Some of the factors that drew its score down were: it had nine apartments per floor
making crowding higher, some apartments only had court facing windows, a person would have
to pass through a bedroom to get to the bathroom in a few of the apartment layouts and the living
room and kitchen were combined in all of the apartments. What kept this plan from total failure
were: the majority of the windows faced a yard or a street rather than a court, in the majority of
the apartments a person did not have to pass through a bedroom to get to the bathroom and the
plan of the first floor had rooms for boarders. Rooms for boarders were a good thing, seeing as to
they kept the boarders from living in the apartments with the families but also helped to keep
rent low for the entire building.

De Forest Fireproof Tenements- Funded by Josephine L. De Forest and her husband Shephered
De Forest in 1905 using Ernest Flagg as the architect, this building also has an austere façade and
uses the same brick laying techniques as the Bishop tenements. Again, the same verticality is
given to the building with the stacking of windows and small cornice. However, terra-cotta
ornamentation surrounds the door in the form of imitation stone blocks and a large cartouche,
drawing the eye to the private entrance as the large event on the façade.

The De Forest tenements actually had the highest result on our survey, a sixty-four percent.
Some of things that drove its score down were: a few of the apartments had only court facing
windows, courts which were closed on all four sides (once the neighboring buildings were
erected) and in some apartments the living room and kitchens were combined into one. This
building however had more pros in its layout than cons. The pros were: the majority of
apartments had separate kitchens and living rooms, half of the apartments had more amenities in
the restrooms with addition of a tub, and none of the restrooms had to be accessed through a
bedroom, and only eight apartments were on each floor, the lowest amount in our evaluation.

Hartley Open Stair Tenements- The last building we looked at, the Hartley tenements were
funded by Helen Hartley Jenkins and the architect was Henry Atterbury Smith. The building was
completed in 1912. The façade is the most decorated out of all the model tenements we
evaluated, with terra-cotta surrounding the entrance as well as decorating the parapet. It also uses
brick laying in an interesting manor, used to draw attention to certain areas of the façade. On the
façade the brick is extended out from the plane to create pilasters. The Pilasters begin with a

 
 
33
rectangular design done in brick and triumphantly end with poly-chromed terra-cotta garlands,
added color to the building and also giving the building verticality. Poly-chrome terra cotta is
again used around the entrance (this has since been painted over in a buff colored paint), and
bricks were laid diagonally in the parapet to visually separate it from the rest of the building. A
stone band runs horizontally between the ground and first floor.

The interior layout of this building scored a forty-five percent. The cons were: there were only
toilets in the restrooms, all the light courts are closed on all four sides, and the kitchens and
living rooms are combined in the majority of the apartments. The pros were: all the apartments
had vestibules separating the public hall from the private apartment, the restrooms were separate
from the bedrooms, and the most of the apartments are cross ventilated because of the number
and placement of the windows.

In order to judge our buildings as progressive in terms of interior layout we had to run the same
survey on three speculative apartment buildings, built for the same income bracket, during the
same period of the century. The results have been graphed below for comparison and complete
results from the speculative tenements can be found in the appendix.

Model tenements  progres s ive value compared with s peculative tenements  progres s ive value  

1902 1902 1902 1903 1905 1912

S peculative tenements Model tenements

 
 
34
As the graph reveals, the majority of our previously named progressive model tenements were
actually not progressive in their layout, contrary to common beliefs. This could have been one of
the reasons that only a small number of model tenements were ever erected and their
construction was discontinued.

If the same income bracket could live in a better building and it was available to them, there
would be little reason fro them to choose to live in some of the model tenements. However, this
doesn’t make them any less significant in the history of housing in New York City, similar to
how pre-law and old-law tenements were found to be poor in terms of design; they continue to
be visual representations of the changes in housing. The model tenements were used as one
example of the progression towards better housing conditions in future government subsidized
projects. They were transitional housing but they can be used to give a historic memory that
would otherwise be lost.

  

B. De Forest Conditions Survey


Building materials define a building and express its design intent. Brick was the primary building
material in every single building we have discovered within the context of progressive housing
(over 90 buildings total, with construction dates ranging from 1894 to 1963). While this is not a
surprising fact, it is of interest to further examine the material choices within this group of
buildings. All the buildings we have studied were of quality materials, as evident in how well
they have held up over time.

Brick is one of the most common building materials throughout history; it offers affordability,
speed of construction, and by the end of the 19th century- creativity in ornamentation. Brick
masonry was inexpensive but at the same time, very expressive. It is a versatile material that can
articulate many different styles and details, as previously shown in the Hartley Tenements.

Many, many of different kinds of bricks were used on these buildings, usually with trimming
details of terra cotta or stone. These buildings were designed and built with expressions of
modesty—for their function was to provide better housing to the working class. While most of
these designs are relatively restrained, with no extraneous ornament, the intricate brickwork

 
 
35
achieves a great deal of visual interest. As we see here, a lot of variety and creativity can be
expressed both with the choice of bricks and the manner in which they are laid.

The first step to preserving these buildings is awareness—we hope this will be accomplished
through our extensive research and analysis. The next step will be the actual preservation of the
structures in their physical fabric. One method is through conditions surveys.

A building conditions survey has been defined as, “A comprehensive, critical, detailed, and
formal inspection of a building to determine its condition and value, often resulting in the
production of a report incorporating the results of such an inspection.”

Conducting a conditions survey on a historic building of significance can serve as an incredibly


valuable tool for preservation of the structure. A close examination of the materials used on the
building is necessary to determine the current condition and understand the decay processes of
these materials. Before any work is done to structure (be it conservation, alterations,
refurbishment, or restoration) a conditions survey acts as a guide in defining the scope of work.
The defects and problems can then be prioritized and dealt with accordingly. Conditions surveys
are incredibly valuable to the future maintenance of buildings. Problems with the building found
at an early stage of deterioration can be assessed, and the conditions can be monitored and
compared over time.

The surveys I conducted were purely visual conditions assessments. I used simple tools like
binoculars, a camera with a zoom lens, and took field notes and sketches to document the
buildings.

The De Forest Fireproof Tenements were built in 1905, and designed by Earnest Flagg. The
building is seven stories, with a central entrance and retail spaces on the ground floor. The
simple ornamentation of the Beaux Arts style terra cotta detailing and the flat arch brick lintels
gives this building a subtle dignity. To the owner’s credit, it is in excellent condition.

The original 2 over 2 windows have unfortunately all been replaced with black metal framed, 1
over 1 windows. It is recommended that more historically sensitive windows are specified when
the current ones need replacement. The terra cotta cornice is intact and in good condition.

 
 
36
Some of the issues we see is the soiling on the entryway, small areas of spalling or damaged terra
cotta, and excessive plant growth on the façade.

The mortar joints appear to be in good condition, and the original recessed pointing detail
remains. This effect creates shadows and accentuates the buff-colored bricks. The brick wall,
however, is in need of cleaning—the mortar is covered in a blackish film, over-accentuating the
recessed quality. This is a minor problem, needing no immediate action, and only mildly affects
the aesthetics of the facade.

The terra cotta around the entryway and string course is in fine condition, considering the age of
the building. Aside from some small areas of spalling and blackish staining, the entry is very
much intact and not deteriorated. It does appear however, that the joint between the terra cotta
blocks were insensitively repaired at some point, and the inappropriate caulk-like material has
accumulated a great deal of soiling, causing visual discontinuity.

The most pressing issue with the maintenance of this building is the excessive plant growth
accumulating on the second floor. Vines are growing from the east elevation (the neighboring
building’s property), wrapping around to the front façade, and extend over the first story terra
cotta string course and up above into the bricks. This appears to have caused some deterioration
to the masonry and a great deal of soiling. The presence of these plants could further
compromise the integrity of the façade; as the vines mature and grow bigger, they could push on
the mortar joints or trap moisture in the masonry wall.

A careful examination of the building can also tell you about its past or even original features
that have been removed. When paired with documentary research, oddities on the building can
often be explained—as we see here, the addition of lighter bricks on the seventh story, below the
windows can at first be puzzling, but upon reviewing the original drawings, it is clear that this
decorative balcony railing was removed at some point during the buildings history. The replaced
bricks are poor color matches to the original shade of buff brick, or else the older bricks appear
darker with soiling and age.

Lavoisier Apartments, a progressive housing building funded by John D. Rockefeller, is a


perfect example of a rather destructive repair campaign. Work was recently completed on the

 
 
37
building, with little respect to the design intent or materials of the buildings. In contrast to the De
Forest Tenements, Lavoisier is in relatively poor condition despite the recent repairs.

The bricks have been repaired and/or replaced inappropriately, and very adverse re-pointing has
occurred. These changes have drastically altered the aesthetic reading of the building, and in this
case, a conditions survey could have helped guide the work that was completed, and helped to
develop a historically sensitive repair program.

A great textural aesthetic created by these rough bricks. This visual texture is completely lost in
the areas of poor repointing, as previously shown. On the left, it also appears that the masonry is
experiencing some issues with salt deposition (or efflorescence), that should be further
investigated. Many of the original windows remain on Lavoisier, seen on the right, but are in a
quite deteriorated state.

This building shows how and why it can be beneficial to have an initial conditions survey
completed, before the work is performed. Recommendations from the survey can help ensure
that proper repair methods are carried out on historic buildings.  

 
 
38
Chapter 4- Finnish Cooperatives 

History

History of the Finnish Immigration to the United States

Sunset Park is a neighborhood in south Brooklyn that once attracted a large population of
Finnish immigrants. The large immigration of these Finns to the United States started in 1864.
Initially, four groups of immigrants settled in Minnesota. Soon thereafter, the first group of
immigrants arrived in Michigan, which became a popular state for immigration. These
immigrants worked in mines and lumberyards.

The largest wave of immigration took place between 1899 and 1913. In the peak years, over
20,000 immigrated to this country each year. Out of the 40,000,000 Europeans who emigrated to
North America between 1821 1nd 1929, 350,000 were Finnish and they immigrated to the
United States. 19 However, with the 1921 immigration “Emergency Quota Act”, which limited
the number of Finnish immigrants to 500 a year, the number of immigrants decreased.

Most of the immigrants settled in the eastern states of New York, and Massachusetts, and in the
midwestern states of Michigan and Minnesota, near the Great lakes. Later the settlement spread
westward to Montana, California, Oregon and Washington. However, very few settled in the
southern states.

Image from Finnish Immigrants in America


                                                            
19
Genealogy website

 
 
39
Finnish Immigrants in Brooklyn

The largest number (10,240) of these urban settlers settled in the city of New York, mostly in the
Sunset Park area of Brooklyn. This area, which was known as the Finntown, covered 20 to 25
blocks, between 40th and 45th Streets, to the south and north, and 5th and 9th Avenues, to the
west and east.

Finntown in Sunset Park

At this time, New York was faced with a serious housing shortage. Overpopulation and over
development were the two factors leading to this shortage in Manhattan, while under
development and lack of sufficient housing were the instigators of the problem in Brooklyn.
This led the growing population of the Finnish immigrants in Sunset Park, to join forces and
build their own homes.

Housing was only one of the problems of these immigrants. Lack of familiarity with the new
country and the inability to speak English, created special hardships for these immigrants,
excluded them from jobs and made it difficult for them to assimilate. All of these factors were
compelling forces that led the Finns into forming their own network in the community.

From the 1890s the Finns began forming workingmen’s societies that were later replaced by
socialist clubs. In 1890, the Imatra Society of Brooklyn in New York was among the first
workingmen’s clubs that was formed as a mutual benefit association for workingmen. This was
a social club, where the Finns would gather to socialize and discuss their problems, one of which
was housing. Soon thereafter, they established the co-operative system of conducting business,
based on the principles set forth by the “Co-operative Movement” in Finland.

 
 
40
Based on those ideologies, the Finns in Brooklyn launched an array of co-operative businesses,
including a grocery store, a bakery, a meat market, a restaurant, a poolroom, a newspaper
establishment and garages. All of these businesses were concentrated on 8th Avenue, between
40th and 45th Streets.

Finnish shopping center (left) and Finnish Co-op Bakery (right)


Images from the Library of congress

History of the Finnish Co-ops

From starting in 1910, the existing housing shortage prompted the Finns to begin constructing
single family houses on the blocks bounded by 41st and 43rd Streets, to the south and north, and
7th and 9th Avenues, to the west and east. These were built by the Finnish Building
Corporation, and they acted as the precursor to the Finnish Coops. 20

One-family and two-family houses built by the Finnish


Image from Co-operative Movement; the co-operative movement in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the Bronx.

This was followed by the construction of limited-dividend co-ops. The first such co-op, which
was the first to be built in the United States, was built in 1916 and was named Alku I, meaning
                                                            
20
Ekman, p.59-68.

 
 
41
“beginning”. This was followed by the construction of Alku II in 1917. After the success of
Alku I & II, 12 existing buildings were purchased and converted into co-ops. At this time
construction was slowed down by World War I. However, starting in 1923, once again
construction picked up and 14 new co-ops were constructed. By 1927, over 28 co-operative
apartment buildings - original and converted - were operating in the Sunset Park area. 21

Alku I Alku II

After the 1920s, two factors contributed to the decline in the construction of co-ops, which
resulted from a reduction in the demand for housing. First, the new immigration laws which
limited the number of immigrants, led to a decrease in the number of new immigrants to the
Brooklyn area. Second, the Depression forced many of the immigrants who were in search of
jobs into leaving New York for other states. Today, few Finns remain in the area, and the social
fabric of the neighborhood has completely changed, but these co-operative apartments continue
to stand.

Buildings Selected as Case Studies

For the purpose of our study, we have focused on 6 buildings that were originally built as co-ops,
and have chosen to exclude the converted ones; because the latter were not built by the Finns,
there was no way that they could be linked to the Finnish culture through architectural analysis.
In selecting our case studies, we used two criteria. First we selected those that were the first to
be built by the Finnish as limited-dividend co-ops, and these were Alku I & Alku II.

                                                            
21
 For a complete list of images of the Finnish coops, refer to the building profiles provided at the end of this report. 

 
 
42
Next, we selected the buildings that were designed by Eric Holmgren, a Swedish/American
architect born in the United States, with an architectural practice in Brooklyn. These buildings
included the Sunset Court, River View, Sun Garden Homes, and Park Slope Homes and Alku
II. 22

Analysis of the 1930 Census Records: Ethnicity & Occupation

We then looked at the 1930 census records to determine the percentage of occupants that were in
fact Finnish, and what percentage of these Finns were involved in the construction industry.
In doing so we discovered that the Finnish made up 95% of the occupants in Alku I, 95% of the
occupants in Alku II, 80% of the occupants in Riverview,
verview, 65% of the occupants in Park Slope
Homes, and 87% of the occupants in Sun Garden Homes. These results stand in great contrast to
those found for the speculative homes, which showed a great ethnic diversity.

Ethnical identity of the Occupants: Ethnicity

The census records also revealed that a good number of the occupants were involved in building-
industry trades. The number of such tradesman constituted 80% of the households in Alku I,
47% of the households in Alku II, 57% of the households in Riverview, 39% of the households
in Park Slope, and 64% of the households in Sun Garden Homes. Our analysis confirmed that
these were in fact built by and for the Finns.
                                                            
22
For a complete list of images of the Finnish coops, refer to the building profiles provided at the end of this report.

 
 
43
Number of Households in Building Industry

The Co-operative Housing System

The Co-operative Society System

The Co-operative System


A co-operative housing Association is one composed of a group of like-minded people who unite
to secure attractive homes; homes built and run, not for profit but for the service of the
occupants.

Title
In this type of housing a tenant does not buy or own his house or apartment. He owns shares in
the Cooperative Society. The ownership of these shares entitles him to a permanent lease for the
home he occupies. In this system, the legal ownership of the property is vested in the
Association as a whole.
Costs
Payment on land and building was secured by the tenant members buying shares in the Housing
Association. These payments were secured in two mortgages, the first of which is about 50
percent of the valuation, and the second of which varies between 50 to 75 percent. In order to
achieve the most favorable conditions, ideally the mortgages do not exceed 66.6 percent of the

 
 
44
cost of land. Bond issues, loans, and preferred stocks are among other forms of financing the
enterprise.

Steps to Incorporation
A co-operation is incorporated only after a land or property has been selected, approved by all
the members, and its value determined. 23

Advantages Leading to the Success of the Finnish Co-ops

There were certain advantages to living in the Finnish co-operative housing. As mentioned
earlier, these co-ops were built by the Finns themselves, and they provided the people of their
community with secure homes in a new country, resulting in a sense of stability and permanence.
This granted the co-ops their principal advantage, and acted as a strong incentive for wanting to
be part of the Finnish co-operative system. Furthermore, as we saw earlier, many skilled
building-industry craftsmen, including carpenters, bricklayers, plasterers, painters, and
electricians, were living in these buildings. These craftsmen participated in the actual
construction, which resulted in a higher degree of craftsmanship. Finally, members knew their
neighbors and they united with them in the up-keep of the property, thus contributing to their
beauty, order, and cleanliness. These advantages were the direct result of the like-mindedness of
the co-operators, and the strong sense of community and camaraderie among them.

Factors Leading To Low Costs & Affordability

The none-profit “limited dividend” characteristic of these co-ops, which increased their
affordability by reducing costs, was the main factor leading to their success. Also, the familiarity
of the Finnish with an already-established system of co-operation, was the other factor to which
this success can be attributed. This familiarity provided them with the know-how of the system.

Moreover, we have reason to believe that two of the design architects of the buildings may have
also contributed to this reduction in cost by providing their services at reduced value; we know
that Eric Holmgren was involved in charitable affairs, and Maxwell Cantor – the architect of

                                                            
23
 International Labour Office, p.1-15. 

 
 
45
Alku I - made contributions to the shortage in housing in the spirit of cooperation and
helpfulness.

Finally, the participation of the resident building-industry craftsmen in the actual construction
resulted in a reduced cost of construction. Costs could be kept at the absolute minimum by
limiting involvement to these residents and to those most familiar to their community. The
resulting affordability led to reduced rents; for instance in 1925, members of Alku I were paying
$32 a month while other workers in the neighborhood were paying $70 to $80 a month to private
landlords. 24

Case Study: “Riverview”

The above-described principles are demonstrated by the “Riverview” case, reported in the Co-
operation magazine, as follows:
“In the case of “Riverview”, the total cost of construction was $170,000. Each member put in
$300 per room (which would mean $1,500 for a five-room apartment); a first mortgage of
&70,000 was placed with a local bank, and the balance was raised from the well-known method
of negotiating “Comrade Loans”. These loans are procured from fellow co-operators in the
neighborhood who make loans to the housing group at 5% on notes. Every one of the apartment
houses built since the first two has solved the second mortgage problem by means of these
“Comrade Loans”. As there are 104 rooms in the “Riverview”, the cash paid in by members was
about $31,200, and the amount raised from “Comrade Loans” about $68,000.” 25

“One of the members of the group was an experienced builder, so he was made construction
superintendent, and worked for a weekly wage. Through buying many of the materials himself
and hiring much of his labor by the day, he eliminated large contractors’ fees. Every week
during the entire process of construction he met with the whole group and they together went
over all the details involved in building their home. The excellent quality of material used, the

                                                            
24
Co-operation (1925), p.64-65.
25
Co-operation (1925), p.64-65.

 
 
46
usually fine workmanship, and the low cost are all due to this careful oversight of the whole job
by the whole membership.” 26

Riverview

Architectural Characteristics of the Finnish Co-ops

The Finnish Precedent - Worker Housing in Helsinki

The Finnish were already familiar with the idea of tenement housing. These two-story apartment
houses are examples of what the Finnish call “working housing” in Helsinki. This particular
building seems to have a linear plan with a double loaded corridor. In other words, the core of
the building is used for circulation and the outer portions are dedicated to living spaces which
require natural light. The interiors consist of single rooms occupied by several people. Unlike
New York where privacy was one of the main criteria for the new law tenement housing, privacy
was virtually nonexistent here. Nonetheless, these apartments have large windows that admit
plenty of light into the space.

                                                            
26
Co-operation (1925), p.64-65.

 
 
47
Kirstinkuja 4 Helsinki, Finland

             
1910 1920s
Images courtesy of Professor Andrew Dolkart, Columbia University

          
1925-26 1930s
Images courtesy of Professor Andrew Dolkart, Columbia University

 
 
48
Lot Coverage – Building Footprints

• With a lot coverage of 74%, Alku I and II are shaped like the letter “I”. This makes it
possible for the intermediate spaces to have exposure to natural light. The juxtaposition of
the two buildings forms an interior courtyard.
• Riverview, on the other hand, with a lot coverage of 64%, has an interior courtyard, two sides
of which are occupied by the vertical circulation of the abutting buildings. This eliminates
any circulation on the exterior plane of the building, which could be dedicated to more living
spaces that require natural light. Here the courtyard is directly accessible from the street
through a screened transitional space.
• Sun Garden Homes, with a lot coverage of 65%, is composed of six buildings that form an
interior courtyard. Once again, all vertical circulation is placed on the interior courtyard side
of the buildings.

Alku I & II Riverview Sun Garden Homes

• Sunset Court has a lot coverage of 70%. This building and the Riverview are similar in that
the courtyard to both of these buildings is accessible from the street through a screened
transitional space. This direct access has resulted in a break in the building massing. The
provided screen serves as vertical circulation, while it helps retain the volumetric uniformity
of the façade. Also, besides the fact that Sunset Court has an elongated courtyard, the
buildings have similar footprints.
• Then we have the Park Slope Homes with a lot coverage of 63%, where the entrance is
emphasized by being set back from the street. Here the vertical circulation joins the three
different segments of the building.

 
 
49
Sunset Court Park Slope Homes

By looking at the shape of the footprints we realized that although the layout of these buildings
follow the codes, spelled out in the new-tenement laws, the use of natural light has been
optimized; a conscious effort has been made to place more living spaces on the exterior plane of
the building. Also, with the exception of Alku I & II, the lot coverage for all of these co-ops is
actually lower than the 70% allowed by the codes. This created lots with open spaces that
allowed for good ventilation and ample light. Judging from the selection of lots for these co-ops
(newly built and converted co-ops), we can see that 12 of them face the park, which implies that
in fact the open space required by the codes was not viewed as an impediment by the builders.
This is in contrast to the desire of the speculative builder who maximizes the return on his
investment by maximizing floor area.

Architectural Analysis

Plan and Interior of Three Case Studies

Case Study No. 1 compared to the typical two-family house for working people in Sunset Park

The two-family house for working people has long rectangular plans that create interior spaces
that do not get any exposure to natural light. In the house, except for the spaces that are on
either end of the building, none of the intermediate spaces have windows to the exterior. On the
other hand, all of the spaces in the Finnish co-ops have windows and receive direct natural light.
Moreover, the Finnish co-ops show considerable improvement in the arrangement of spaces,
interior circulation, and in their increased consideration for light and air. Also, the spaces are

 
 
50
larger and brighter, and the corridors are much wider. The typical houses for working people on
the other hand have longer, darker and narrower corridors.

Alku I Typical Sunset Park Two Family Housing


817 43rd Street 640 54th Street

 
 
51
Alku I The Chislehurst
817 43rd Street, Brooklyn Fort Washington Ave., near 180th St., Manhattan

Alku I Interior:

Entry corridor Bedroom Bathroom

 
 
52
Sun Garden Homes: Floor Plan and Interior
The design of Sun Garden Homes proves to be even more refined. This building consists of two-
bedroom apartments, with a clean, clear, and straightforward layout. All rooms have windows to
the exterior, admitting plenty of natural light, and they are all accessible from a wide central
corridor.

Floor plan
Original image from Corcoran

Sun Garden Homes interior


Images from Corcoran

Living room Dining room

 
 
53
Kitchen Entry corridor

Park Slope Home: Floor Plans and Interior


Park Slope Home consists mostly of one-bedroom apartments. In this building, an efficient use
of space has resulted in nice open layouts. Two plan types were examined in this building. In
both plan types, all rooms have windows. In plan type A, the public and private spaces are
separated, which results in an increased level of privacy. This is achieved by placing the two
sections on either side of the entrance. However, in Plan type B, the only access to the bedroom
is from the dining room. In fact all rooms are accessed from each other.

 
 
54
Plan A Plan B

Park Slope Homes interior

Kitchen Dining Room Living Room

 
 
55
The fact that spaces are accessed through each other might raise a question as to how well the
plans work in terms of space adjacencies. However, the sample layout found from the 1939 to
1940, attest to the fact that this was not an uncommon concept in Finland, and that private spaces
(bedroom) could be accessed from a public space (living). 27

Apartment in Helsinki (1939-1940)


Floor plan from: Asunnon Muodonmuutoksai

So it can be concluded that in addition to the fact that the spaces are bright and cheerful, the
layout of the apartments work well.

Conclusion

Although built under the new-tenement laws, these co-operatives were progressive in that they
were much better in quality than the speculative apartments built in New York City at the time.
They have enhanced layouts and they make better use of space. There is a higher degree of
privacy, better interior circulation, ample light and air, and were built with an enhanced degree of
craftsmanship as opposed to typical family homes for working people. Moreover, the design of

                                                            
27
Unfortunately we could not find any plans for apartments built in Finland before 1934.

 
 
56
these co-operatives improved over time. Finally, due to their smaller scale, they did and still do
create a stronger sense of community.

While co-operative housing was later sponsored by labor unions and the city, the limited-
dividend co-operatives of Sunset Park were the first successful case with a clear ethnic
affiliation. Furthermore, these co-ops remain as the last physical signs of the Finnish
community, which once settled in the Sunset Park area. These buildings were built for the
Finnish people by the very members of this community. These factors delineate a strong ethnic
picture, the historic memory of which merits preservation.

 
 
57
A. Alku II Condition Survey

A conditions survey was also undertaken on one of the first Finnish Co-operative buildings in
Brooklyn. Alku II, located in Sunset Park, was built in 1917, just after Alku I, and designed by
Eric O. Holmgren. Alku II is four stories with a central entrance, flat roof, and a three-bay
parapet. It is a brick masonry building with limestone trimming.

The simple limestone detailing is quite soiled as shown here. The areas that are the most soiled
are the undersides of the cornice, belt course, and entryway, as limestone tends to accumulate
soiling in areas where the rain does not wash the stone.

Tapestry brick is the primary masonry material on Alku II, exhibiting deep vertical ridges that
were raked into the brick before firing. Two different shades of bricks were used, a yellow-buff
color for the majority of the structure, and a darker reddish-brown iron-spot brick for the window
surrounds and pilasters.

Tapestry brick tends to have issues with soiling due to the deep grooves accumulating dirt, but
the condition of this façade is quite clean. Upon inquiring about this with the co-op president, it
was learned that the building was steam-cleaned about fifteen years ago. This treatment seems to
have been a very successful technique, and the bricks currently display almost no signs of
soiling.

Window decisions on this building are both made and paid for by the individual residents in each
unit, so there is a variety of window replacements seen here that create a discontinuity on the
facade. The original windows (6 over 1 and 9 over 1 panes) can be seen on the bottom right of
the screen. In this case, a window replacement master plan is recommended to ensure future
visual continuity of the façade.

Alku II serves as an example of a well-maintained building. Co-ops are often fortunate in this
sense because the residents of the building are also the owners, so there is a vested interest to
take care of the structure itself.

Many buildings in the Sunset Park area, where the Finnish co-ops are concentrated, are poorly
maintained. As you can see here, parapet and roof problems can be major issues. This parapet is

 
 
58
in a severely unsafe condition. Because this building is under six stories, Local Law 11 (the NYC
law that mandates building inspection every five years) does not apply. Alku II’s parapet is in
very stable and safe condition, as a testament to the owners’ careful maintenance.

Another co-op within our study, the Brooklyn Garden Apartments on the right, shows issues with
maintenance and graffiti on the building. In contrast, the majority of the Finnish co-ops are in
quite good condition, well-maintained and cared for by their owners.

 
 
59
Conclusion

In researching the buildings associated with progressive housing in New York City, we have
clearly found a great deal of historical, social, and cultural significance. Based on our findings,
we believe some of these buildings are worthy of preservation efforts. They are interesting
historically, and key to the development of housing in New York.

While there is a great deal more research that could (and should) be done, we feel that the
following preservation actions should be taken at this time:

Model tenements were an extremely small percentage of New York’s housing stock at the time;
yet their contribution to housing reform should certainly be acknowledged. Our findings show
that the true significance of these buildings lies primarily in their interior layouts and plans. We
feel that while the plans were not necessarily progressive, the architects and funders truly felt
that they were building homes that were better than the older tenements. The layout and plans of
these buildings provide us an insight to progressive housing that would otherwise be lost. The
methods of their financing and philanthropic construction are also very important to the history
of women’s social involvement in housing. Due to the limitations of New York’s Landmarks
Law, the interiors of these building cannot be given Landmark status. Therefore, we advocate for
the addition of some of the more successful model tenements funded by female philanthropists to
the National Register of Historic Places. While the National Register designation does not hold
any legal protection, it does designate the entire building, as opposed to merely the exterior
facade. If the opportunity to rehabilitate one of these structures using tax credits or federal funds
arose, their placement on the Register would provide them with protection of historic fabric
through the required employ of the Secretary of Interior Standards. For example, the Emerson
Tenements, built in 1914 by William Emerson, has recently qualified for eligibility to the
Register, and will undergo a tax credit rehabilitation project following these Standards.

Research on the Finnish Co-operative movement in Brooklyn has clearly divulged cultural
significance. As the first limited dividend co-operative housing in America, these buildings hold
great historic value. This group of buildings serves as a representation of what was once known
as Finn-town, one of the largest concentrations of Finns in the United States. While the Finnish

 
 
60
presence in Brooklyn (and New York City in general) has all but disappeared, the buildings
remain as an important link to ethnic heritage.

Because Alku 1 and 2 were the first of these limited dividend co-operatives to be built by the
Finnish, we recommend designation as New York City Landmarks. These two buildings have
already been recognized by Place Matters (an organization dedicated to preserving the cultural
heritage of New York). We feel that the Alku buildings would contribute to NYC’s Landmarks
as icons of this larger group of Finnish co-operatives (over 25 in all). These buildings are still an
integral part of the Sunset Park area, and part of the ethnic overlays that characterize New York.

A Thematic Nomination to the National Register would also be appropriate for the Finnish Co-
ops. This nomination could help raise awareness and recognition for this small but important
historical housing movement.

Community education plays a crucial role in our preservation recommendations for this large
group of buildings within New York’s history of progressive housing. With public involvement
and knowledge, these buildings could successfully be recognized and valued by the community.
Education can work as a powerful tool in successful preservation efforts. Because cultural
heritage is often difficult to present, the presence of these physical manifestations should be
made known. Maintenance and proper care of these buildings can emerge from acknowledgment,
along with more interest from the community as a whole. Educational recommendations include
children’s school programs, articles in local publications, or public informational lectures about
the history and importance of the Finnish Co-ops. Recognition and awareness can be powerful
tools applicable not only to our project, but to a broader understanding of preservation as a
whole.

 
 
61
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Co-operative Home Builders in New York. Co-operation. Vol. XII., No. 2. (New York City: The
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Darling, Elizabeth and Lesley Whitworth. Women and the Making of Built Space in England
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Department of Buildings

Documents prepared for the nomination of Alku I Placematters.

Dolkart, Andrew S. The Architecture and Development of New York City: Living Together. (New
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62
Dolkart, Andrew S. Biography of a Tenement House. (Santa Fe, NM: The Center for American
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Ekman, Katri. Co-operative Movement; the co-operative movement in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and
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Eric O. Holmgren Dies; boro church architect. Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Apr. 8, 1951.

Ford, James. Slums and Housing Volume II. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1936).

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Henry Street Settlement. About Our Founder, Lillian Wald. (New York, Henry Street Settlement
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Hoglund, A. William. Finnish Immigrants in America, 1880-1920. (Madison, University of


Wisconsin Press, 1960).

Howe, Barbara J. Edith Elmer Wood. (American National Biography website, 2008).

Institute of Architects Honors M. A. Cantor. Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Jan 31, 1951.

International Labour Office. Housing co-operatives. (Geneva, 1964).

King, Dr. William. Co-operator Magazine. Published in Britain 1844.

Klaus, Susan L. Modern Arcadia: Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. and the Plan for Forest Hills
Gardens. (Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Press, 2004).

Knopf, Sigard Adolphus. Tuberculosis, A Preventable and Curable Disease. (New York: Yard
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Köngäs, Elli Kaiji. Nicknames of Finnish Apartment Houses in Brooklyn, NY. Journal of
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Lindenmeyer, Kristie. Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Lives: Women in American History.


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Library of Congress. http://lcweb2.loc.gov/learn/features/immig/scandinavian5.html.

Lubove, Roy. I.N. Phelps-Stokes: Tenement Architect, Economist & Planner. (Philadelphia
University of Pittsburg, 1964).

Marks, Stephen- editor. Concerning buildings : studies in honour of Sir Bernard Feilden.
(Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann, 1996).

Marshall, Ray F..The Finnish Cooperative Movement. Originally published in Land Economics,
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Plunz, Richard. A History of Housing in New York City. (New York, NY: Columbia University
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New York Times, August 8, 1913.

Reeves, Joseph. A Century of Rochdale Cooperation: 1844-1944. (London, GB: Lawrence And
Wishart, 1944).

Saarikangas, Kirsi. Osunnon Muodonmuutoksai: Puhtauden Estetikka ja Suku puoli Modernissa


Arckkitehtuurissa, (Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuunden Seura 2002).  

Sazama, Gerald. A brief history of affordable housing cooperatives in the United States,
Department of Economics Working Paper Series. (Storrs, CT.: University of Conneticut,
January 1996).

Seven Strides onward toward the Co-operative Commonwealth, Co-operation. Vol. XI, No.10.
(New York City: The Cooperative League, October, 1925).

Siegler, Richard and Levy, Herbert J. Brief History of Cooperative Housing, National
Association of Housing Cooperatives. (JSTOR, 2008).

Silbey, Joel H. Samuel Jones Tilden. (American National Biography website, 2008).

Swallow, Peter, David Watt, and Robert Ashton. Measurement and Recording of Historic
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Tarn, John Nelson. Five Percent Philanthropy: An Account of Housing in Urban Areas Between
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Ethnic Groups. (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press, 1980) (JSTOR).

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65
Selected Bibliography

1. Better Tenement Houses, New York Times: November 22, 1896.


2. New York’s Great Movement for Housing Reform, Review of Reviews, December 1896.
3. Tenement House Show, New York Times: February 10, 1900.
4. Paying Model Tenements, New York Times: May 28, 1901.
5. Tenement Reform Threatened, New York Times: February 1, 1903.
6. The Model Tenement Problem, New York Times: April 7, 1903
7. To Promote Philanthropy, New York Times: May 23, 1905.
8. A New Model Tenement is opened to Tenants, New York Times: January 21, 1906.
9. Display Ad 32- Homewood, New York Times: March 25, 1906.
10. Philanthropy and Business, New York Times: May 29, 1906.
11. Model Tenements Pay, New York Times: May 29, 1906.
12. Apartment Houses, The American Architect and Building News, January 5, 1907.
13. Model Homes for the Poor, The Atlanta Constitutional, April 21, 1907.
14. 5,000,000 Invested in Model Tenements for New York’s Poor, Boston Daily Globe:
April 28, 1907.
15. Paying Philanthropy, New York Times: February 18, 1908.
16. Model Homes, New York Times: June 30, 1908.
17. “Model Flats” Ready Jan. 1, New York Times: December 11, 1908.
18. Model Tenement Problem, New York Times: March 21, 1909.
19. Bath Tubs as Garden Spots; Trials of Model Tenements, Chicago Daily Tribune: April
18, 1909.
20. Men Crowded Out as Tenement Heads: New York Times: May 21, 1909.
21. Model Tenements, New York Times: December 13, 1909.
22. Model Tenements Viewed from Investment Standpoint, New York Times: December 12,
1909.
23. South Brooklyn Tenements: New York Times: April 3, 1910.
24. Model Tenements Secured by Women, New York Times: May 8, 1910.
25. Model Tenements Good Investment, New York Times: May 29, 1910.
26. Designs Homes for Working Girls, New York Times: June 5, 1910.
27. Model Tenement Section, New York Times: December 25, 1910.
28. Hartley Open Stair Tenement, New York Times: July 9, 1911.
29. Housing: References to Books and Magazines, The Monthly Bulletin, December 1911.
30. Seeking to Remedy the Failure of Model Tenements, New York Times: December 1,
1912.
31. Rent Model Flats after Rigid Tests, New York Times: August 8, 1913/
32. Latest Model Tenement on Avenue A, New York Times: December 12, 1915.
33. Model Tenements for West Harlem, New York Times: May 14, 1916.
34. Care of Tenement House Properties, New York Times: May 27, 1917
35. Model Tenement Designs Win Prizes, New York Times: February 5, 1922.
36. Site For Model Tenement, New York Times: March 16, 1922.
37. New Tenement House Shows a 6% Return, New York Times: February 25, 1923.
38. Model Tenements at $9 Per Room, New York Times: April 8, 1923.
39. Brooklyn to Build Model Tenements, New York Times: December 11, 1927.
40. Housing Authority Buys 2 Tenements, New York Times: August 15, 1941.
41. I.N. Phelps Stokes Architect, 77, Dead, New York Times: December 19, 1944.
 
 
66
42. I.N. Phelps Stokes: Tenement Architect, Economist, Planner, The Journal of the Society
of Architectural Historians, Vol, 23 No. 2 (May, 1964) Article by Roy Lubove.
43. Landmark Land Grab, The Village Voice: November 12, 1991.
44. Streetscapes: Model Tenements; Far West on 42nd St., A 1901 Innovation, Christopher
Gray, New York Times: June 21, 1992.

 
 
67
Appendix

 
 
68
Distribution Ma p:
  Red= Model Tenements,
 
Yellow= Limited Divide nd Co operatives
69
304-306 West 149th Street

Image from Slums and Housing V. II,


Plate 11D

 
 
70
179 Mulberry Street

Plan from Clark, Figure 17.

 
 
71
183 Mulberry Street

Plan from Clark, Figure 17.

 
 
72
Finnish Co-op housing in Sunset Park
# Name Address (Brooklyn) Architects Date Other Notes
Built
1 Corner View I 4401 4th Ave. ? 1912
2 Corner View II 4407 4th Ave. ? ?
3 Bayview 540 40th St.(b/w 5th C. Schubert 1912? converted
and 6th Ave.) 1920?
4 Florence 546 40th St. (5th&6th Eisenla & Carlson 1912 converted
Ave.)
5 Park Slope Homes 521-31 41st St. Eric O. Holmgren 1927
6 Parkside 549-561 41th St. Eric O. Holmgren 1926
7 Sunset View I 605 41st St ? 1921
8 Sunset View II 611 41st St. ? 1920?
9 Sun Garden Homes 637-661 41st St. (7th Eric O. Holmgren 1924
Ave.)
10 Riverview 673-83 41st St., (7th Eric O. Holmgren 1923
Ave.)
11 Sunset Court 4002-4012, 7th Eric O. Holmgren 1925
Ave.(40th St.)
12 Berkshire Court 4001-11 7th Ave. Benjamin Cohn of Cohn 1915?
Bros. 1924?
13 Sunset Home 4015-21 7th Ave. ? 1916? converted
1929?
14 Baltic Homes 4113 7th Ave. ? 1914? converted
15 Elmo Homes 728-734 41st St. ? 1927
16 Park Hill Home 759 42nd St. ? 1926
17 Alku I 816 43rd St. (near 8th Maxwell A. Cantor 1916-17
Ave.)
18 Alku II 826 43rd St. (near 8th Eric O. Holmgren 1917
Ave)
19 Advance Homes 848-856 43rd St. ? 1922?
20 Top View 807 44th St. ? 1923
21 Broadview 4313 9th Ave. Eric O. Holmgren? 1923?
22 Linden Heights 702 45th St. Eric O. Holmgren? 1924
23 Victory Home 672 46 St. ? 1915 converted
24 Bay View 671 47th St. ? 1915? converted
1930?
25 Hillside 566 44th St. Eisenla & Carlson 1912-3 converted
26 Parkslope 570 44th St. Eisenla & Carlson 1912-3 converted
27 Pleasant View 574 44th St. Eisenla & Carlson 1912-3 converted
28 Hilltop View 4404 6th Ave. Eisenla & Carlson 1912-3 converted
29 517 49th Street Club 517 49th St. ? 1914? converted
30 466 49th Street Club 466 49th St. Eisenla & Carlson 1909? converted
1914?

 
 
73
 

 
 
74
Model Tenements

75
“Brooklyn Garden Apartments”
715‐29  4th Av (at 24th St), 
Brooklyn
• Building Type: Model Tenement
•Developer/ Original Owner: Brooklyn Garden Apartments, 
Inc
•Architect: 
•Date Built: 1929
•Materials: brick & limestone

76
“Brooklyn Garden Apartment”
100 Adelphi Street, Brooklyn
• Building Type: Model Tenement
• Developer/ Original Owner: Brooklyn Garden Apartments, 
Inc.
• Architect: Frank H. Quimby
• Date Built: 1930
• Materials:  red brick

77
“Emerson Tenements”
746 11th Av, Manhattan
(at 53rd St)
• Building Type: Model  Tenements
•Developer/ Original Owner: William Emerson
•Architect: William Emerson
•Date Built: 1914
•Materials: brick, fireproof construction
•Significance: It is about to be added to the National 
Register to utilize tax credits for 
rehabilitation. The first floor was 
entirely devoted to communal 
amenities.  

78
“Hartley Open Stair Tenements”
523‐531 W 47th St, Manhattan

• Building Type: Tenement
•Developer/ Original Owner:  
•Hartley Open Stair Tenement Co. (20 Broad St.)
*Funded by Mrs. Helen Hartley Jenkins
•Architect:  Henry Atterbury Smith & William P. Miller
•Date Built: 1912‐13
•Materials:  brick with polychrome terra cotta 
ornamentation
•Significance:  In the Special Clinton zoning district of 
Manhattan

79
“Harlem Apartments”
211 West 146th & 
210 West 147th Street, 
Manhattan
• Building Type:  Model Tenements 
• Developer/Owner:  Open Stair Dwellings Company
• Architect:  Henry Atterbury Smith & William P. Miller
• Date Built:  1916
• Materials:  Brick

80
“Mills House 1”
160 Bleecker St, Manhattan
(at Sullivan St)
• Building Type: Model Tenement
•Developer/ Original Owner:  Darius Ogden Mills
•Architect: Ernest Flagg
•Date Built: 1896
•Materials: brick with stone detailing
•Significance:  This building was not for families but 
rather for single working men, we included it in our 
survey as it is mentioned frequently in the literature 
about model tenements. There is also a “Mills Hotel 
No. 3” at 7th Avenue between West 36th & 37th
Streets, Manhattan. The architect was Copeland and 
Dole, it was completed in 1906 and also funded for 
by Darius Ogden Mills. Mills House 2 has since been 
demolished.

81
“Manhattan Housing Corporation”
176‐182 E 3rd St, Manhattan

• Building Type: Model Tenement
•Developer/ Original Owner:  Housing Construction Corp.
(Lippman Schurmacher, pres.)
•Architect: Horace Ginsberg
•Date Built:  1931
•Materials: brick with glazed brick detailing

82
“Stanton Homes Corporation”
193‐95 Stanton St, Manhattan

• Building Type: Model Tenement
•Developer/ Original Owner:  Stanton Development Corp.
(Lippman Schurmacher, pres.)
•Architect:  Louis R. Uffner
•Date Built: 1930
•Materials:  brick

83
“Thomas Garden 
Apartments”
840 Grand Concourse, Bronx.

Building Type: Model Tenement
Developer/Original Owner: John D. Rockefeller
Architect:  Andrew J. Thomas
Date Built: 1928
Significance:  The five‐story development was 
funded by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. as housing for 
Plan from Plunz page 155. middle‐income families.

84
“York Avenue Estates”
York Between 78‐79th Street‐
Manhattan, Landmark
ƒ Type: Model Tenement 
ƒDeveloper/Owner: City & Suburban
ƒ Architects: Harde & Short, Percy Griffin and Philip  H. Ohm
ƒ Date Built: 1900‐1913 
ƒ Materials: Buff brick, limestone
ƒSignificance: Designated a New York City Landmark in 1990

85
“Seventy Third Street Estate/James H. 
Jones Memorial Buildings”
415‐419 East 73rd St., Manhattan
Building Type: Model Tenement
Developer/Original Owner: City & Suburban
Architect: City & Suburban Homes Corporation Architect Dept.
Date Built: 1906
Materials: brick, granite, limestone.

86
“First Avenue Estates”
First Avenue between 64th & 
65th Streets, Manhattan

• Building Type: Model Tenement
•Developer/Original Owner: City & Suburban
• Architect: James E Ware & Son 
• Date Built: 1900
• Materials: brick, cast‐stone.
• Significance: Designated as a New York City 
Landmark in 1990

87
“Celtic Park Apartments”
4810 43rd Street at 48th
Avenue, Woodside, Queens.

Building Type: Model Tenement
Developer/Original Owner: City & Suburban
Architect:
Date Built: 1909‐26‐31 
Materials: brick, terracotta

88
“East River Homes (Cherokee)”
E 78th St at York Ave, Manhattan
• Building Type:  Model Tenement
•Developer/ Original Owner: Mrs. Ann Harriman Vanderbilt 
•Architect: Henry Atterbury Smith
•Date Built: 1909
•Materials:  brick, terra cotta, Guastavino tile
•Significance: Designated as a New York City Landmark in 
1985. It was built specifically for those suffering from 
Tuberculosis and their families, with an emphasis on 
ventilation and cleanliness in each apartment.

89
“Lavoisier Apartments”
1213 York Avenue, Manhattan

Building Type: Model Tenement
Developer/Original Owner: John D. Rockefeller Jr.
Architect: Andrew J. Thomas
Date Built: 1924
Materials: Rough red brick with limestone details 

90
“Phelps‐Stokes Properties”
52‐58 East 97th Street, 
Manhattan 

• Building Type: Model  Tenement  
• Developer/Original Owner:  Phelps Stokes Fund 
• Architect:  Sibley  and Fetherston
• Date Built:  1922  
• Materials:  Brick

91
“Rogers Model Dwellings”
425‐427 West 44th Street, 
Manhattan 
• Building Type:  Model tenement 
• Developer/Original Owner:  Catherine Cossitt.D. 
Rogers
• Architect:  Grosvenor. Atterbury
• Date Built:  1912  
• Materials:  Brick
• Significance: This building was in part sponsored by 
nuns, and there were very strict criteria if you and your 
family were going to live here. (See New York Times Article  
August 8th 1913‐ Rent Model Flats After Rigid Tests)

92
“Billings”
(326‐330) 328 East 35th
Street, Manhattan
• Building Type: Two 6 story flats
• Developer/Original Owner:  Laura Billings
• Architect:  Andrews & Withers
• Date Built:  1901
• Materials:  Brick with stone trims

93
“DeForest Fireproof 
Tenements”
203‐205 East 27th Street, 
Manhattan

• Building Type:  Model Tenement  
• Developer/Original Owner:  
Josephine L. De Forest & Shephered K. De Forest
• Architect:  Ernest Flagg
• Date Built:  1905
• Materials:  Brick with terra‐cotta  ornamentation

94
Half demolished 
“New York Fireproof Tenements”
500‐506 West 42nd Street
ƒ Type:  Model tenement
ƒ Developer/Owner:  NY Fireproof  Tenement Company 
aka The Model Tenement Fireproof Company  
ƒ Architect: Ernest Flagg
ƒ Date Built: 1899
ƒ Materials: Brick and limestone
ƒ Integrity: Only a partial front façade and one doorway 
left of the west wing, the east wing is still intact 
ƒSignificance: 1st Fireproof tenements. Ernest Flagg used 
his fireproof partition wall patented construction 
technique on these and other buildings that he designed 
for the NY Fire Proof Tenement Company which he 
founded (the three addresses I found for these buildings 
have all been demolished).  502‐506 were also 
demolished without a DOB Permit and a stop work order 
has been placed on the lots. 

NYPL Digital Gallery
95
“Henry Phipps Houses”
234‐248 West 64th Street‐ Manhattan

ƒ Type: Model tenement 
ƒDeveloper/Owner: Henry Phipps
ƒ Architect: Whitfield & King
ƒ Date Built: 1912
ƒ Materials: Buff brick, painted stone, limestone
ƒ Significance: Mainly for the African American population 
that populated the San Juan Hill area at the time of 
construction.

96
“Phipps Garden Apartments 
I & II”
5101 39th Avenue at 521st
Street, Sunnyside, Long Island 
City, Queens.

Building Type: Model Tenement
Developer/Original Owner: Phipps Houses, Inc.
Architect: Clarence S. Stein
Date Built: 1927‐30‐35
Materials: brick.
Significance: in Historic District. The Phipps 
Garden Apartments I is a large complex of 
apartments that, together with Phipps Garden 
Apartments II to the north, encompass an entire 
double‐width block. Housing development that 
provided low density, high quality housing, open 
space and gardens for low wage earners and
encouraged civic participation among its 
residents.

97
“Henry Phipps Tenement Houses”
233‐247 West 63rd Street‐ Manhattan

ƒ Type: Model tenement
ƒDeveloper/Owner: Henry Phipps
ƒ Architect: Whitfield & King
ƒ Date Built: 1905‐1906
ƒ Materials: light brick, red brick, some stone work
ƒSignificance: Built for mainly to house African Americans 
that populated the San Juan Hill area at the time. 

98
“Tower buildings”
431‐5(419) Hicks St., Brooklyn

• Building Type: Model tenement.
• Developer/ Original Owner:  Alfred White.
• Architect:  Williams Field & Son.
• Date Built: 1876‐77
• Materials: Bricks, cast iron and wrought iron
• Significance: Located in historic district, it was 
also one of the first two (Home Building was the 
other) model tenements that were successful in 
New York City. 

99
“Home Buildings”
445 Hicks St., Brooklyn

• Building Type: Model tenement.
• Developer/ Original Owner: Alfred White.
• Architect: Williams Field & Son.
• Date Built: 1876‐77
• Materials: Bricks, cast irons and wrought iron.
• Integrity: good. 
• Significance: Located in historic district, multiple 
entrances, multiple buildings, courtyard, simple 
and bulky details. It was also one of the first two 
(Tower Building was the other) model 
tenements that were successful in New York 
City. Restored 1986 by Maitland, Strauss & Behr.

100
“Riverside Buildings 
(Apartments)” 
10 Columbia Pl., Brooklyn
• Building Type: Model tenement.
• Developer/ Original Owner:  Alfred Treadway White.
• Architect: Williams Field & Son.
• Date Built: 1890
• Materials:  Bricks, terracotta, cast irons and wrought 
iron.
• Integrity: half of the complex was demolished for the 
expressway construction, but the rest of it is 
maintained well. remodeled in 1988 by R.M. Kliment & 
Frances Halsband.
• Significance: Located in historic district. 

101
“Astral Apartment (flat)”
184 Franklin Street, Brooklyn
• Building Type: Model tenement.
• Developer/ Original Owner:  Charles Pratt.
• Architect:  Lamb & Rich.
• Date Built: 1885‐6.
• Materials:  Brick & terra cotta.
• Significance: Designated as a New York City  
Landmark in 1980.

102
“Bishop”
58 Hester St., Manhattan
• Building Type: Model Tenement. (tenement)
• Developer/ Original Owner:  D.W.  & Shepeherd
Bishop.
• Architect:  Ernest Flagg.
• Date Built: 1901‐2.
• Materials:  mainly buff brick with limestone 
lintels and sills

2nd‐5th Floor plan

103
“Mesa Verde”
3433 90th Street, Jackson Heights, 
Queens.
• Building Type: Apartments
• Developer/ Original Owner:  Open Stair 
Dwellings Company.
• Architect:  Henry Atterbury Smith.
• Date Built: 1926 (completed).
• Materials: Brick and limestone.
• Description: Six closed L buildings organized at 
forty‐five degrees to the gridiron.  Each building 
was six‐sty high and had one elevator that went 
to the roof, making the buildings “walk‐downs”.  
The intersecting diagonals of the buildings were 
connected by bridges and walkways.

Images from Plunz,  104
Pages:  177 & 179
Limited Dividend Cooperatives 

105
“Corner View I”
4401 4th Ave., Brooklyn

•Building Type: Finnish Co‐op
•Developer/Owner: Corner View Assn., Inc.
• Architect:
• Date Built: 1912?
• Materials: bricks and stone
• Integrity: 
•Significance: 
•Other info: Block/Lot= 738‐9
Number of building= 1 
Number of floors= 4
Number of units= 20 

106
“Corner View II”
4407 4th Ave., Brooklyn

•Building Type: Finnish Co‐op
•Developer/Owner: Corner View Assn., Inc.
• Architect:
• Date Built:
• Materials: bricks and stone
• Integrity: 
•Significance: Block/Lot= 738‐6
Number of building= 1
Number of floors= 4
Number of units= 16 

107
“Florence (Risula)”
546 40th St. (5th & 6th Ave.), 
Brooklyn

• Building Type: Finnish Co‐op (converted)
•Developer/ Original Owner: Florence Assn., Inc.
•CM:  Armstrong Construction Co. (412 Macon St.)
•Architect: Eisenla & Carlson (312 51st St., Brooklyn)
•Date Built: 1912, 1920?
•Materials: brick, decoratively laid, stone over entry
•Integrity: relatively intact, cornice missing
•Significance: 
•Other Info:  Block/Lot= 917‐23
Number of floors= 4
Units= 16
NB# 6788‐1911

108
“Bay View (Risula)” 
540 40th St (b/w 5th and 6th Ave.), 
Brooklyn
• Building Type: Finnish Co‐op (converted)
•Developer/ Original Owner:
McKinley Park Holding Co. (29th St & 3rd Ave. Brooklyn)
Current= YMS Realty Corp.
•Architect: C. Schubert (13th Ave. and 86th St., Brooklyn)
•Date Built: 1912 
•Materials: brick, decoratively laid, stone over entry
•Integrity: relatively intact, cornice missing
•Significance: 
•Other Info:  Block/Lot= 917‐21
Number of building= 1
Number of floors= 4
Number of units= 19
NB# 585‐1912
109
“Park Slope Homes”
521‐31 41st St., Brooklyn

• Type: Finnish Co‐op
• Developer/Owner: Park Slope Assn., Inc.
•CM: Sun Heights Building Corp (637‐41st Brooklyn, John Noro. 
President 637 41st St., Brooklyn)
•Architect: Eric O. Holmgren (371 Fulton St., Brooklyn)
• Date Built: 1927
• Materials: bricks and stone
• Integrity: 
•Significance: 
•Other info: Block/Lot= 917‐58
Number of floors= 4
Number of units= 16 

110
“Parkside (Ylijaama)”
549‐561 41th St., Brooklyn
• Type: Finnish Co‐op
•Developer/Owner: Parkside Assn., Inc.
•CM: Sun Heights Building Corp (637‐41st Brooklyn, John Noro. President 
637‐41st St. Brooklyn) 
• Architect: Eric O. Holmgren (371 Fulton St., Brooklyn)
• Date Built: 1926
•Materials: 
Upper walls: brick
Floor: wood, steel and cinder concrete
Roofing: material 4 ply tar felt and slag. 
• Integrity: 
•Significance: 
•Other Info: Block/Lot= 917‐48 
Number of buildings=1
Number of floors= 4
Number of Units= 41 
NB 11082‐26
Estimated cost: $150,000
Size: 113’*88’3”*Height 4 stories 

111
“Sunset View I”
605 41st St., Brooklyn

•Building Type: Finnish Co‐op
•Developer/ Original Owner: Horwitz Morris, Ross 
Sunset View Assn., Inc.
•Architect:
•Date Built: 1921?
•Materials:
•Integrity: bricks
•Significance:
•Other Info: Block/Lot: 918‐1 
Number of buildings= 1
Number of floors: 4 
Number of units: 20 

112
“Sunset View II”
611 41st St., Brooklyn

•Building Type: Finnish Co‐op
•Developer/ Original Owner: Horwitz Morris, Ross  
Sunset  View Assn., Inc.
•Architect:
•Date Built: 1920?
•Materials: bricks and stone
•Integrity:
•Significance:
•Other info: Block/Lot= 918‐70
Number of buildings= 1
Number of floors= 4 
Number of units= 20

113
“Sun Garden Homes”
637‐47 & 655‐61 41st St, Brooklyn

•Building Type: Finnish Co‐op
•Developer/ Original Owner: Sun Garden Homes Assn., Inc.
•CM: Sun‐Heights Building Corp. (Otto Noro, president‐ 826 
43rd St., Brooklyn)
•Architect:  Eric O. Holmgren (371 Fulton St., Brooklyn)
•Date Built: 1924
•Materials: bricks, stone entry
•Integrity:  intact
•Significance: 
•Other Info: Block/Lot= 918‐52
Buildings on Lot=  6 
Number of floors= 5
Number of Units: 72
NB # 11495‐1924 (07/30/1924)

114
“Riverview (Koopeli)”
673‐83 41st St., Brooklyn(41st
St&7th Ave)
•Building Type: Finnish Co‐op
•Developer/ Original Owner:  Riverview Homes Assn., Inc.
•Architect: Eric O. Holmgren (371 Fulton St, Brooklyn)
•Date Built: 1923
•Materials: bricks, stone
•Integrity:
•Significance: First Holmgren’s Co‐op housing design
•Other Info: Tax Block/lot= 918‐44 , 
Number of buildings= 1 
Number of floors= 4
Residential Units= 32
NB 8217/23 
ALT 13216/23
•Nickname: Koopeli, ‘The place where old maidens go’; 
Kyopeli or Kyopell, ‘Old maids home’ ‐ there were only 
unmarried women living in Koopeli.

115
“Sunset Court (Kiusala)”
4002‐12 7th Ave., Brooklyn
(at 40th St)

•Building Type: Finnish Co‐op
•Developer/ Original Owner:
Sunset Court Assn., Inc. (4301 8th Ave., Brooklyn)
(Kalle Arorven, president)
•Architect:  Eric O. Holmgren (371 Fulton St., Brooklyn)
•Date Built: 1925
•Materials: brick, multiple types, with stone entry
•Integrity:  Intact
•Significance: 
•Other Info: Block/Lot= 918‐36
Number of buildings: 1
Number of floors: 4
Residential Units: 44
NB # 998‐1925
•Nickname: Kiusala, ‘The place of annoyance’ or 
‘nuisance’. The house was built ‘to tease’ inhabitant of 
another house who thought theirs was a good building.

116
“Berkshire Court”
cor 7Ave. 40st 100*100.
4001‐11 7th Ave, Brooklyn

•Building Type: Finnish Co‐op
•Developer/ Original Owner:
Safe Construction Co. 
(David Goldstein, pres.‐ 125 Bristol)
(current: Martan Properties LLC)
•Architect:  Benjamin Cohn of Cohn Bros. 
(361 Stone Ave., Brooklyn)
•Date Built: 1915? 1924?
•Materials: brick, minimal stone detailing
•Significance: 
•Other Info:  Block/Lot=919‐1
Number of buildings= 1
Number of floors= 5
Residential Units= 44
NB 105306‐29‐23F&F‐080923

117
“Sunset Home (Koyhaintalo)”
4015‐21 7th Ave., Brooklyn
(at 40th St)
• Building Type: Finnish Co‐op
•Developer/ Original Owner:
Sunset Home Assn., Inc. 
•Architect:
•Date Built: 1916? 
•Materials: brick, multiple types, with stone entry
•Integrity:  Intact
•Significance: 
•Other Info: Block/Lot= 919‐1
NB 105306‐29‐23F&F‐080923 
Number of buildings= 2
Number of floors= 4 
Number of units= 43
•Nickname: Koyhaintalo, ‘the poor house’; Residents of 
the building called it Alajokis. ‘very cozy and cared’.
118
“Baltic Homes”
4113 7th Ave., Brooklyn

•Type: Finnish Co‐op (converted)
•Developer/Owner: Baltic Homes Assn., Inc. 
• Architect:
• Date Built: 1914?
• Materials: bricks
• Integrity: 
•Significance: 
•Other Info: Block/Lot= 922‐4
Number of building= 1
Number of floors= 4
Number of units= 16 

119
“Elmo Homes (Lepola)”
728‐734 41st St.
•Type: Finnish Co‐op
•Developer/Owner: Elmo Homes Inc., Inc. 
• CM:
• Architect:
• Date Built: 1927?
• Materials: bricks and stone
• Integrity: 
•Significance: assumed as the last Finnish coop house to 
be built.
•Other info: Block/Lot= 922‐17
•Nickname: Lepola, ‘the place of rest or Rest Haven.’ No 
specific explanation, assumed as the house in which our 
pastor lived. 

120
“Park Hill Home”
759 42nd St., Brooklyn

•Building Type: Finnish Co‐op
•Developer/Owner: Parkhill Homes Assn., Inc.
(Current: Biagio Sciacca et al)
• Architect: Eric O. Holmgren?
• Date Built: 1926
• Materials: bricks
• Integrity: 
•Significance: 
•Other info: Block/Lot: 922‐45
Numbers of floors: 5
Total # of Units: 24
NB 10287‐061222
NB 89366‐12‐22FOF‐071222

121
“Alku I”
816 43rd St (near 8th Ave), 
Brooklyn

• Building Type: Finnish Co‐op
•Developer/ Original Owner: 
Finnish Home Building Assn., Inc.
(822 42nd St., Brooklyn)
•Architect: Maxwell A. Cantor of Cantor & Dorfman
(373 Fulton St., Brooklyn)
•Date Built: 1916‐17
•Materials: brick (multiple colors) and stone detailing 
•Integrity: intact
•Significance: 
•Other Info:  Block/Lot=733‐13
NB# 3088‐1916 
•Meaning:  Alku, ‘beginning’

122
“Alku II”
826 43rd St (near 8th Ave), 
Brooklyn
•Building Type: Finnish Co‐op
•Developer/ Original Owner: 
Finnish Home Building Assn., Inc.
(822 42nd St, Brooklyn)
•Architect: Maxwell A. Cantor of Cantor & Dorfman
(373 Fulton St, Brooklyn)
•Date Built: 1917
•Materials: brick (multiple colors) and stone details
•Integrity: intact
•Significance:
•Other Info:  Block/Lot= 733‐17
NB# 3088‐1916 
•Meaning:  Alku, ‘beginning’

123
“Advance Homes (Moskova)”
848‐856 43rd St., Brooklyn

•Type: Finnish Co‐op
•Developer/Owner: Advance Homes Assn., Inc.
• Architect:
• Date Built: 1922?
• Materials: bricks
• Integrity: 
•Significance: Block/Lot= 733‐25
Number of buildings= 1
Number of floors= 4
Number of units= 36                            
•Nickname: Moskova, ‘Moscow’. Some residents were 
leftists. People lived there were foolish enough to move to 
Moscow

124
“Top View”
801‐11 44th St. (4317‐23 8 Ave.), 
Brooklyn

•Type: Finnish Co‐op
•Developer/Owner: Top View Assn., Inc. 
Current= 4205 8th Avenue Corp.
• Architect: 
• Date Built: 1923
• Materials: bricks
• Integrity: 
•Significance: Block/Lot= 733‐1
Number of building= 1
Number of floor= 4
Number of units= 18 (residential units: 15) 
NB 927‐23 

125
“Broadview (Petleheemi)”
4313 9th Ave., Brooklyn

•Building Type: Finnish Co‐op
•Developer/Owner: Broadview Assn., Inc.
• Architect: Eric O. Holmgren?
• Date Built: 1923?
• Materials: brick, decoratively laid, stone over entry
• Integrity: 
•Significance: 
•Other info: Block/Lot= 5601‐1
Buildings on lot= 2
Numbers of floors= 4
Number of units= 30 (31) 
•Nickname: Petleheemi, ‘Bethlehem’ 

126
“Linden Heights”
702 45th St., Brooklyn

•Type: Finnish Co‐op
•Developer/Owner: Linden Heights Assn., Inc.
• Architect: Eric O. Holmgren?
• Date Built: 1924
• Materials: bricks and stone
• Integrity: 
•Significance: Block/Lot= 750‐5
Building on lot= 4
Number of floors= 4
Number of units= 40

127
“Bay View”
671 47th St., Brooklyn

•BuildingType: Finnish Co‐op
•Developer/Owner: The Bayview Home Assn., Inc.
• Architect: 
• Date Built: 1915? 1930?
• Materials: bricks and stone
• Integrity: 
•Significance: Block/Lot= 758‐48
Number of building= 1
Number of floor= 5
Number of units= 16 

128
“Victory Home”
672 46th St., Brooklyn

•Type: Finnish Co‐op (converted?)
•Developer/Owner: The Victory Home Assn., Inc.
• Architect: 
• Date Built: 1915? 1928?
• Materials: bricks and stone
• Integrity: 
•Significance: Block/Lot= 758‐37
Number of building= 1
Number of floor= 5
Number of units= 17
NB 875P9‐15‐141‐13‐‐030514

129
“Hillside” 
566 44th St., Brooklyn

•Type: Finnish Co‐op (converted)
•Developer/Owner: Hillside Assn., Inc.
•CM: A.S.W.Coustin Co.
•Architect: Eisenla & Carlson (16 Court St., Brooklyn)
• Date Built: 1913
• Materials: bricks and stone
• Integrity: 
•Significance: Block/lot= 739‐30
Number of building= 1
Number of floor= 5
Number of Units: 16 (residential 16) 

130
“Parkslope”
570 44th St., Brooklyn

•Type: Finns Co‐op (converted)
•Developer/Owner: Park Slope Assn., Inc.
• Architect: Eisenla & Carlson (16 Court St., Brooklyn)
• Date Built: 1913
• Materials: bricks and stone
• Integrity: 
•Significance: Block/Lot= 739‐32
Number of building= 1
Number of floor= 5
Number of units= 16

131
“Pleasant View”
574(576) 44th St., Brooklyn

•Type: Finnish Co‐op (converted)
•Developer/Owner:  
Louis Stechern & John C. Weleh (4516‐6th Ave., Brooklyn)
Current= Pleasant View Assn., Inc.
• Architect: Eisenla & Carlson (16 Court St., Brooklyn)
• Date Built: 1912‐3
•Materials: Wall=brick 
Floor= wood
•Significance: 
•Other info: Block/Lot= 739‐34
Number of building= 1
Number of floor= 5
Number of units= 17
Estimated cost= $ 30,000
Size of building= 49’4*85’10”*4 stories 45’6”
132
“Hilltop View”
4402‐4412 6th Ave., Brooklyn

•Type: Finnish Co‐op (converted)
•Developer/Owner: 
Louis stecker & John C. Walsh (4516‐6th Ave.) 
Current= Hilltop View Association, Inc.
• Architect: Eisenla & Carlson (16 Court Street)
• Date Built: 1912‐3
•Materials: Upper walls= bricks 
floor= wood 
•Integrity: 
•Other info: Block/Lot= 739‐37
Number of floor= 4
Number of units: 16
Dimension= 50’*100’2”stories 48

133
“466 49th Street Club”
466 49th Street, Brooklyn

•Building Type: Finnish Co‐op (converted)
•Developer/Owner: 466 49th St. Club Inc.
• Architect: 
• Date Built: 1914?
• Materials: bricks, stone and metal 
• Integrity: 
•Significance: 
•Other info: Block/Lot= 783‐33
Number of building= 1
Number of floors= 4 
Number of units= 17 

134
“517 49th Street Club”
517 49th St., Brooklyn

•Building Type: Finnish Co‐op (converted)
•Developer/Owner: current= Neighborhood Stab Assn.
• Architect: Eisenla & Carlson
• Date Built: 1909? 1914?
• Materials: brick and stone
• Integrity: 
•Significance: 
•Other info: Block/Lot= 775‐80, 
Number of building= 1
Number of floors= 4
Number of units= 8
ALT 379‐517‐052281  
ALTERATION 00/00/1982, 

135
“Academy Housing Cooperation”
523 Commonwealth Avenue, Bronx

ƒ Type: Cooperative
ƒDeveloper/Owner: Academy Housing Coop.
ƒ Architect: Springsteen & Goldhammer
ƒ Date Built: 1931
ƒ Materials: Red Brick, Limestone, Stucco
ƒ Integrity: Appears to still maintain most of the the
original material, the windows have changed and the 
stucco along the bottom may or may not be original. 
Gates have been added for security. 
ƒ Size/Buildings: 6‐story buildings/8
ƒSignificance: Largest single project built under the 
1926 Limited Dividend Law at the time of 
construction. Has elevators!

136
“Amalgamated Housing”
80 Van Cortlandt Park South 
Street, Bronx

ƒ Type: Cooperative
ƒ Developer: Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America
ƒ Owner: Amalgamated Housing Corporation
ƒ Architect: Springsteen & Goldhammer/ Herman Jessor
ƒStyle: Neo‐Tudor
ƒ Date Built: 1927‐1932
ƒ Materials: Brick, Stone 
ƒ Size/Buildings/Units: 7‐story buildings/6/620 units
ƒ Significance: It is the oldest limited equity housing 
cooperative in the United States.  Sponsored by the 
Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union founding 
President and manager Abraham E. Kazan, known as 
"The father of cooperative housing in the United 
States." The first 303 "Pioneer Cooperators" began 
moving in on November 1, 1927.  Building 6 is the 
oldest building. The "newest" buildings are two towers 
which were completed in 1968 and 1970, and replaced 
the original first building.  Altogether, the complex 
houses 1,482 families. 
137
“Amalgamated Dwellings”
504‐20 Grand Street, 
Manhattan
ƒ Type: Co‐op
ƒ Developer: Amalgamated Clothing Workers of 
America
ƒ Owner: Amalgamated Dwellings Inc.
ƒ Architect: Springsteen and Goldhammer.
ƒ Style: Art Deco
ƒ Date Built: 1930
ƒ Materials: Brick and concrete
ƒ Size/Units:  6‐story buildings / 236 units
ƒ Notes: Union’s first architectural achievement.  
Won a medal for design excellence

138
“Boulevard Gardens”
54th St. at Hobart St., Between 
30th and 31st Avenues 
Woodside, Queens

ƒ Type: Co‐op
ƒ Developer/Owner: Boulevard 
Gardens Housing  Corporation
ƒ Architect: Theodore H. Englehardt
ƒ Date Built: 1935
ƒ Materials: Brick, limestone

139
“Hillman House”
504‐20 Grand Street, 
Manhattan

ƒ Type: Co‐op
ƒ Developer: United Housing Foundation
ƒ Owner: Amalgamated housing Corporation, and 
Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America 
(ACWA)
ƒ Architect: Springsteen/Herman Jessor
ƒ Date Built: 1951
ƒ Materials: Reinforced concrete and brick façade
ƒ Size/Buildings/Units:  12‐story buildings / 807 
units
ƒ Notes: The third cooperative by ACWA  Multiple 
entrances and courtyards.  One of the first 
developments of UHF on an open lot facing the 
East River.  Four slum blocks were slum and 65 
tenements were torn down for the development.

140
“East River Houses”
504‐20 Grand Street, 
Manhattan

ƒ Type: Co‐op
ƒ Developer:  International Ladies’ 
Garment Workers’ Union/United 
Housing Foundation
ƒ Owner: East River Housing 
Corporation 
ƒ Architect: Springsteen/Herman Jessor
ƒ Date Built: 1956
ƒ Materials: Reinforced concrete and 
brick façade
ƒ Size/Buildings/Units:  20‐21 stories/ 
1,672 units
ƒ Notes: Balconies and bay windows are 
Jessor’s innovation.  Multiple 
entrances and courtyards.  One of the 
first developments of UHF on an open 
lot facing the East River
141
“Seward Park”
504‐20 Grand Street, Manhattan 

ƒ Type: Co‐op
ƒ Developer/Owner:  United Housing 
Foundation/Seward Park Housing Corporation 
ƒ Architect: Springsteen/Herman Jessor
ƒDate Built: 1961
ƒ Materials: Reinforced concrete and brick façade
ƒ Size: 1,728 units
ƒ Notes:  Multiple entrances and courtyards.  One 
of the first developments of UHF on an open lot 
facing the East River

142
“Farband Houses”
2925 Matthews Avenue, Bronx

ƒ Type: Co‐op
ƒ Developer/Owner:  Jewish National Workers 
Alliance/Farband Housing Corporation
ƒ Architect: Meisner & Uffner
ƒ Style: Neo‐Tudor 
ƒ Date Built: 1928
ƒ Materials: Brick
ƒ Size/Units: 2 buildings/127 units
ƒ Significance: An envisioned utopia. 
Cornices/parapets have been redone 
inappropriately.
ƒ Other Name: Eastchester Heights
ƒ Other Information:  The Jewish National 
Workers Alliance was a labor Zionist 
organization that wanted to establish a socialist 
Jewish state in what was then Palestine
143
“Hillside Homes”
3480 Seymour Avenue, Bronx

ƒ Type: Co‐op
ƒ Developer/Owner: 
ƒ Architect: Clarence Stein
ƒ Date Built: 1934
ƒ Materials: Brick
ƒ Size/Units:  5‐story buildings/1,400 
apartments
ƒ Significance: An envisioned utopia 
Cornices/parapets have been redone 
inappropriately.
ƒOther Name: Eastchester Heights

144
“Rochdale Village”

Between Baisley Boulevard and 137th
Avenue (north/South) and Bedell Street 
and Guy R. Brewer Boulevard (east/west),
South Jamaica, Queens

ƒ Type: Co‐op
ƒ Developer/Owner: Robert Moses
ƒ Architect: Herman Jessor
ƒ Date Built: 1963
ƒ Materials: Brick 
ƒ Significance: The largest single cooperative 
housing community ever to be undertaken at 
its time.  The vision of Robert Moses.  
Population 25,000 people.  Covers 122 city 
blocks.  
ƒ Size/Buildings/Units: 20 buildings/5860 
apartments

145
“Shalom (Scholem) Aleichem Houses”
Giles Place/ West 238th Street & Cannon 
Place, Bronx

ƒ Type: Co‐op
ƒ Developer/Owner: Yiddish Cooperative 
Heimgesellschaft
ƒ Architect: Springsteen & Goldhammer
ƒ Date Built: 1927
ƒ Materials: Brick, stucco, stone, 
ƒ Integrity: Very good, well kept up 
ƒ Significance: In very good condition, well cared 
for, and interesting architecturally which might 
help make a case.
ƒ Style: Neo‐Tudor  
ƒ Website address:  www.Bronxcourtyard.com

146
“Workers’ Colony Cooperative”
2700‐2774 Bronx Park East & 
2846‐2870 Bronx Park East, Bronx

ƒ Type: Co‐op
ƒDeveloper/Owner: United Workers Cooperative 
(Jewish)
ƒ Architect: Springsteen & Goldhammer & Herman 
Jessor
ƒStyle: Austrian/German/Dutch expressionist
ƒ Date Built: 1925‐1929
ƒ Materials: Red brick, wood, stucco 
ƒ Integrity: Although it has landmark status the 
building is not well cared for.  Harm has been done 
to original material. 
ƒ Significance: Landmarked in 1992, see designation 
report notes.  Particularly notable for its brickwork.  
Has the most extensivefacilities, including 
classrooms, nursery, kindergarten, youth clubs, 
auditorium, gymnasium, children’s library, and adult 
library 
ƒ Other Names: “The Coops”, “The Allerton Coops”, 
“United Workers Cooperative Colony” 147
“The Dunbar”
149th‐150th St. & Adam 
Clayton Blvd., Harlem

ƒ Type: Co‐op
ƒ Developer/Owner: John D. Rockefeller Jr.
ƒ Architect: Andrew J. Thomas
ƒ Date Built: 1928
ƒ Materials: Red brick/limestone/stucco
ƒ Integrity: Very good, new windows to look old
ƒ Significance: Landmark
According to the New York City Landmarks
Commission, it was "the first large cooperative
built for "Peoples of African Descent." Rather
than being set up as rental apartments, the
complex was a housing cooperative. Tenants
were required to pay a down payment of $50 per
room, and then $14.50 per room per month,
much of which went towards a mortgage on the
space. In 22 years, if payments were all made on
time, the tenant would own the apartment.
148
“Penn South”
23rd ‐ 29th Streets and 
8th ‐ 9th Avenues 
Chelsea, Manhattan

ƒ Type: Co‐op
ƒ Developer/Owner: International Ladies 
Garment Workers Union
ƒ Architect: Herman J. Jessor
ƒ Date Built: 1963
ƒ Materials: Brick
ƒ Size/Units: 2,820 units 

149
“Varma I ”
828 Gerard Avenue ,
Bronx

ƒ Type: Finnish Co‐op


ƒDeveloper/Owner:
ƒ Construction Company: Building Three
Corporation
ƒ Architect: C. Scahefer Junior
ƒ Date Built: 1924
ƒ Materials: Brick, cast iron
ƒ Size/Units: 6 floors/84 units
ƒ Other Information: Block/Lot: 2474 ‐10
NB #: 302‐1924
NB #: 1984‐1923

150
“Varma II”
825 Walton Avenue,
Bronx

ƒ Type: Finnish Co‐op


ƒDeveloper/Owner:
ƒ Construction Company: Weinsil Construction
Company
ƒ Architect: Glick & Duma Architects
ƒ Date Built: 1926
ƒ Materials: Brick, cast iron
ƒSize/Units: 6 floors/ 64 units
ƒ Other Information: Block/Lot:2474 ‐15
NB # 345‐1926

151
“Flagg Courts”
7200 Ridge Blvd, Brooklyn

• Building Type: Co‐op
•Developer/ Original Owner:
•Architect: 
•Date Built:
•Materials:  brick, intricately laid with a 
rusticated appearance 
•Integrity:
•Significance: 

152
Limited Dividend Cooperatives that have  Address does not exist
been demolished

“Souja 1 and Souja 2” “Eight Family Home”


129th St (b/w 5th Ave and Lenox)
43st 371' from 9 Ave. 29’3”*100’2”
127th St. and 5th Ave
• Building Type: Co‐op
•Building Type: Finnish Co‐op
•Developer/ Original Owner: Finnish
•Developer/Owner: Eight Family Home Association Inc.
•Architect:
•Date Built: 1920
•Date Built: 
•Materials:
•Integrity:
•Significance: 

153
Model Tenements that have been
demolished • Cathedral Ayrcourt Apartments –
•531 West 122nd Street and 540 West 123rd Street
•Architect: Henry Atterbury Smith.
• Alfred Corning Clark Buildings‐ • Date: 1921
•217‐233 West 68th Street & 214‐220 West 69th Street • Owner/developer: Open Stair Dwellings Company.
•Architect: Ernest Flagg
• Date: 1898 • Workingmen’s home
• Owner/developer: City & Suburban • Intersection of Canal, Mott & Elizabeth Streets
• Architect: John W. Ritch
• Tuskegee Houses – •Date: 1855
•213‐215 West 62nd Street • Owner/developer: New York Association for 
• Architect: Howells & Stokes Improving the Condition of the Poor
• Date: 1902
• Owner/developer: Miss Caroline Phelps‐Stokes & her  •Monroe Model Tenement‐
sister Olivia E. Phelps‐Stokes •Monroe Street, Lower East Side
•Description: First model tenements for African  •Architect: William Field & Son
Americans, since Workingmen’s Home •Date: 1879
• Owner/ Developer: Abner Chichester
• Billings –
•326‐330 East 35th Street, Manhattan • Cherry Street Model Tenements
•Architect: Andrews & Withers •Architect: William Schickel & Company/ Tenement 
• Date: 1901 House Building Company 
• Owner/developer: Laura Billings •Date: 1886
•First Avenue & 71st Street, Manhattan •Hampton House‐
• Architect: George Da Cunha & modified by Vaux &  •West 62nd Street
Radford •Owner/developer: City & Suburban
•Owner/developer: Improved Dwellings Association • Date: 1912
•John Jay Dwellings‐ •Phelps‐Stokes Properties
•East 77th Street (Across from Shivley Sanitary  • East 32nd Street (West of 1st Avenue)
Tenements) • Owner/ developer: City & Suburban
•Architect: Henry Atterbury Smith & William P. Miller • Phipps Houses
• Date: 1913 •321‐337 East 31st Street
• Owner/ developer: Open Stair Tenement Company • Architect: Grosvenor Atterbury
• Owner/ Developer: Phipps Houses Inc.  154
•Date: 1906