Exhuming the Lost Blocks Razed for the ‘Village View’ Housing Complex [PHOTOS]

Posted on: May 29th, 2019 at 5:05 am by

Village View complex under construction, Photo: Susan Fensten

The Village View housing complex opened fifty-five years ago as part of the Mitchell-Lama program. Construction of the sprawling campus – situated on Avenue A and First Avenue between East Second and East Sixth Streets – required the massive clearance and demolition of dozens of buildings. Displacement and disruption followed as whole neighborhoods were effectively decimated.

Village View was originally proposed in the late 1950s as the Franklin D. Roosevelt Houses, low-income public housing. However, by the early 1960s, the program privatized and was sponsored by a consortium of local colleges and universities. When it finally debuted in 1964 as a Mitchell-Llama cooperative, the seven-building affordable development offered 1,236 limited-equity apartments for middle income folks. (Three of the buildings have 21 floors, while the other four are 16 stories.)

Photo: Susan Fensten

Photographer and native New Yorker Susan Fensten acquired a fascinating collection of original black-and-white prints chronicling the area before, during, and after construction of the Village View. Handwritten notes on the back of each indicate dates between May 1960 and July 1963.

The Mitchell-Lama program, founded in 1955, supported the creation of more than 105,000 rentals and limited-equity co-ops for middle-income New Yorkers. However, the city’s accelerated real estate market has eliminated almost one-third of those units, according to New York State Homes and Community Renewal.

All images are courtesy of the collection of Susan Fensten.

Share

Tags

Streets

Recent Stories

Protest Violence: LES Small Businesses Vandalized

A fifth night of protests spilled onto lower Orchard Street yesterday, as several businesses were vandalized. The Roasting Plant coffee shop, R&D (formerly Brigitte) on Canal street, and the Alexander Olch boutique, were all hit. Shattered windows and looting. It’s unclear what was taken from each store. With regard to Olch’s store, vandals tagged it […]

Scenes from the Looted Streets of Downtown [PHOTOS]

A weekend of violent protests and looting – fueled by the death of George Floyd at the hand of Minneapolis cops – left downtown Manhattan charred and shattered. Businesses in SoHo up to Union Square were some of the hardest hit. Boogie contributor Eddie Panta was eyewitness to the smash-and-grab bedlam. Part I: The Nike Store […]

DIY Banner Hung Above FDR Drive in Tribute to George Floyd

Whenever an event of significance hits the news, neighbors can easily expect a new banner unfurled on the Delancey Street foot bridge over the FDR. Indeed, for the third time in as many months, a new message. “I can’t breathe,” a tribute to George Floyd, for whom these were final words. While being placed in […]

Despite Lockdown, ‘Bel-Fries’ Overcrowded Ludlow Street with a Major Party on Sunday

What lockdown? In Hell Square, it’s almost as if the last few months were in vain. Sunday afternoon saw an overflowing party for the opening Bel-Fries on Ludlow Street. It was seemingly planned for maximum marketing value, despite the COVID-19 lockdown. A “Miami style” event with luxury cars, deejay booth, professional photo rigs, and plenty […]

Aerial Photos Call into Question City’s Decision to Fully Demolish 70 Mulberry Street

On the evening of January 23, as Chinatown residents prepared for the Lunar New Year, a devastating five-alarm fire decimated the former PS23 at 70 Mulberry Street. Nearly five months later, many in the neighborhood continue to question the city’s choice to fully demolish the facility. Especially after the emergence of aerial photos showing the […]