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Happy 60th Marcy and Jacob Riis Houses

This year, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) is commemorating the 60th Anniversary of Marcy Houses located in the Brooklyn community of Bedford - Stuyvesant and Jacob Riis Houses I and II, located in Manhattan's East Village.

In recognition of these important anniversaries, Mayor Bloomberg signed proclamations which were presented to the management staff of each of the developments and proclaimed January 17, 2009 in the City of New York as Jacob Riis Houses Day and January 19, 2009 as Marcy Houses Day.

Instantaneous hot water heater
New environmentally friendly hot water
heaters were installed
at Marcy Houses in 2006.
Photo credit: Kevin Devoe

Both Marcy and the Jacob Riis developments were built at a pivotal time in history when New York City, along with the rest of the country, was experiencing a post-war housing shortage. During the year of 1949 when Marcy Houses and Jacob Riis Houses were completed, President Harry S. Truman signed the landmark Housing Act of 1949, which provided federal financing for slum clearance programs associated with urban renewal projects in American cities. The Housing Act of 1949 also extended federal money to build more than 800,000 public housing units, which resulted in a seven year period (1952 to 1958) when NYCHA built a record number of federally funded dwelling units in New York.

Jacob Riis Houses I is bounded by the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Drive and Avenue D, and East 8th and East 13th Streets. The development was completed on January 17, 1949 and is situated on nearly 12 acres. Riis Houses I consists of 13, six-, 13- and 14-story buildings with 1,191 apartments housing some 2,739 residents.

Riis Houses tree planting
A volunteer waters a newly planted
tree at Riis Houses.
Photo credit: Leticia Barboza

Jacob Riis Houses II is bounded by the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Drive and Avenue D, and East 6th and East 8th Streets. The development was completed on January 31, 1949 and is situated on approximately six acres. Riis Houses II consists of six, six-, 13- and 14-story buildings with 578 apartments housing some 1,299 residents.

Marcy Houses in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, was completed on January 19, 1949 and is situated on approximately 26 acres, which used to be the site of an old Dutch windmill. The development is bounded by Flushing, Myrtle, Marcy and Nostrand Avenues, and consists of 27, six-story buildings with 1,717 apartments housing some 4,382 residents.

Marcy Houses has been recognized for the beauty of its gardens. At the 43rd Annual Garden and Greening Awards Ceremony in October 2008, Marcy Houses received a third place award for its Neighborhood Garden and a second place award for its Evergreen Garden.

Both Marcy Houses and Jacob Riis Houses have taken part in NYCHA's overall "green" agenda to be more environmentally responsible. At Marcy Houses, conventional water heaters in the development were replaced with energy-saving instantaneous hot water heaters in 2006. And Jacob Riis Houses has received new trees as part of the New York Restoration Project and Mayor Bloomberg's MillionTreesNYC initiative.