Wednesday, November 2

Creating Co-operative Housing On the Lower East Side

In 1938 Robert Moses was assigned by La Guardia to a committee that would advise him on slum clearance and housing. By 1942 he was named to the City Planning Commission and played a major role in passing the Redevelopment Companies Law (a sate act that made it easier for the city to condemn land and sell it to private investors); by 1946 Moses was named City Construction Coordinator and by 1948 he became chairman of the Committee on Slum clearance, with all these positions under his belt Moses dominated housing policy and discourse until the 1960s

Under Title I of the National Housing Act in 1949  Robert Moses led the committee on slum clearing and in partnership between 1949 and 1960 Moses developed seventeen Tiltle  I projects. On the Lower East side of Manhattan Moses became involved with Abraham E. Kazan and together they produced a number of urban renewal projects that  creating mixed income and public housing. 

The Hillman Houses were Kazan's first project of cooperative housing , their planning was initially rejected by Moses  who who in meeting with Kazan recommended the plan be scaled back to four blocks and clear 65 tenements. Construction was completed in 1950 and in its three twelve- story structures provides 807 units of housing. The structure still stand today on Grand Street Between Kazan Plaza on Lewis Street on the LES.

Abraham E. Kazan, founder of the United Housing Foundation nicknamed "father of the U.S. Cooperative Housing"
Photo Credit: Cooperative Village

The Slum Clearance Plan for East River Housing  known in the planning stage at Corlears Hook was the first project in NYC to receive funds form the Title I  National Housing Act.
Photo Credit: Cooperative Village

Deconstruction around Grand Street to make way for East River Housing site
Photo Credit: Cooperative Village
According to the Cooperative Village "Thirteen acres of slums, south of Lewis Street to the FDR Drive and fanning out from the Williamsburg Bridge to Cherry Street were cleared to make way for the East River Housing site."
1950 Plan of Action for the East River Housing Project; Final effort to clear slums and remaining tenements from Corlears points (roughly known today as the intersection of Cherry and Jackson street along East River Drive).
Photo Credit: Cooperative Village

A view of East River Housing today as it still stands as a part of the Cooperative Village 
Looking at the East River from the walk way the hugs FDR drive

A sign for the public housing situated amongst the Cooperative Village housing.
Today the part of the Lower East Side that situates along the edge of the East River is a mix of public housing and private housing. A vast area of super-blocks with thousands of units provide housing for a population of mixed incomes and races. Those who held on to the housing Moses and Kazan built had an ownership option and were also given the option to sell at market price (a great deal more than what it was worth in 1956 at its completion).

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