Archive for Gems from the Archives

Cobble Hill Towers



Alfred Tredway White was a leading American housing reformer in the late 19th Century, who pioneered good quality, affordable housing, that would strengthen society as a whole while still profiting landlords. Born into a wealthy merchant family in Brooklyn in 1846, he was inspired to build quality housing for working families after helping with the settlement school program of the First Unitarian Church in Brooklyn Heights and witnessing the shockingly poor living conditions of the children.

Between 1876 and 1879, he built the Home and the Tower Buildings on Hicks Street at Baltic Street in Brooklyn, described as ‘model …

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Stuyvesant Town History


Our archive includes an extraordinary collection of documents that set out the history of the development of Stuyvesant Town in Manhattan, including:
– The relocation plan for 11,000 people (a pdf of which can be found here)
– Original plans and submissions to City Planning
– Original advertising material (download the pdf here)
– Supreme Court papers detailing litigation on Stuy Town’s alleged segregation policies preventing African-Americans from living there, and eminent domain issues (download a pdf of the case brief here)
– Letters and reports from associated agencies and organizations, including CHPC and a NAACP letter …

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World Trade Center


CHPC’s archival library houses a large and unique collection of World Trade Center photographs, plans, marketing, and reports.

A selection of WTC model photographs and the Dedication Day Newsletter can be found here (pdf).…

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I-Card Mystery Solved


Over one million index sized cards from the early 1900’s are still filed away in the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s borough offices. The cards carefully document, apartment by apartment, observations from the City’s earliest code inspectors at the Tenement House Department (1901-1937).

Known as the I-Cards, they provide a detailed and fascinating look at the conditions that people lived in at the turn of the 20th Century. Yet the meaning and purpose of the I-Cards had, until now, been all but lost to generations of city workers. Some believed they were “Information” cards, others that …

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Polling New Yorkers in 1974


When we enter a new year, we inevitably take stock of our lives and our homes. The New York Times did just this in January 1974 with a series of polls of New Yorkers about New York City. Featured here is an original copy of the special reprint of this series, “New Yorkers Speak Out On New York,” from CHPC’s archives.

As New York faces a financial crisis in 2010, these articles give some perspective on how different today’s concerns are from those in the 1970s, a period of economic stagnation coupled with rampant crime. One article, entitled “Where New …

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1933 Vacancies Survey


In March and April of 1933, the NYC Tenement House Department hired 800 emergency workers including unemployed architects, engineers, and real estate professionals.  Over the course of two months, the team surveyed an astounding 128,344 Class A Multiple Dwelling Units.

What they found was shocking.  Click on the link below and what you’ll find is that vacancy rates were an incredible 14.4 percent—thousands of apartments literally sat empty.  Meanwhile, the ranks of the homeless on New York City ’s streets continued to grow, unable to afford the rent for these vacant units.

This study, found in our archives, was the …

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