First Houses Public Housing Project – New York NY

Description

The WPA Guide to New York City reported that:

“On Avenue A and Third Street, three blocks east of the Bowery, rise the FIRST HOUSES, the first project of the NY City Housing Authority, opened in 1935. Of the old slum tenements which formerly occupied this space, some were torn down and others were completely rebuilt by WPA labour, using the old materials. Unfortunately the attempt to utilize old structures has forced the new ones into a dull scheme. Bathrooms, sound-proofed partitions, gardens, and playgrounds promote the health and comfort of the occupants, who pay five to seven dollars a room a month.”

The Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) also helped to develop the project.

The apartments are named for “their distinction of being arguably the first public housing units constructed in the United States.” In the process, they also won a victory for the right of the state to exercise the power of eminent domain. The apartments were designated a National Historic Landmark in 1974. They are still in use and managed by the New York City Housing Authority.

The courtyard is also decorated with animal sculptures created by WPA artists.

Source notes

The WPA Guide to New York City: The Federal Writers' Project Guide to 1930s New York. New York: Pantheon Books, 1982.122.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Houses
http://www.gutenberg.us/articles/first_houses
The New York Times: "120 'FIRST FAMILIES' GET NEW HOMES," Dec. 1, 1935 (pg. 10)

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Location Info


E. 3rd St. and Ave. A
New York, NY 10009

Coordinates: 40.723619, -73.985611

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