New York City Housing Authority


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Work Begins for First Houses

Work begins on First Houses, facing northwest from across the intersection of Avenue A at 2nd Street, April 4, 1935

Note the signs indicating businesses on the ground floor of 4-story buildings along Avenue A which will be moving. They included a Polish Dentist’s office (second story), Rappaport’s Department Store (one of the sections which would be torn down; it had moved up to East 4th Street), and Barney Scher’s Furniture Store (which planned to reopen across the street after “alterations”). The trolley tracks in the foreground had been part of The Forty-Second Street and Grand Street Ferry Railroad, a 19th century horse-drawn streetcar line which began operations in 1862, extending from the 42nd Street Ferry on the Hudson River to the Grand Street Ferry on the East River.



Before View

Before

A view of the backyard at First Houses prior to the construction.



After View

After

Backyard and First Houses from the rear as workmen on scaffold put on finishing touches.



Dedication Ceremony

Dedication Ceremony for First Houses, December 3, 1935

Eleanor Roosevelt addressing a sea of hats and overcoats at the dedication ceremony.



Ribbon Cutting

Dedication ceremonies for First Houses, December 3, 1935

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt cuts the ceremonial ribbon at the landmark opening of the first public housing development in the United States. New York State Governor Herbert H. Lehman (at far left) and New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia (at right) stand beside her during the historic moment.



Wide View of First Houses

A wide view of the First Houses on September 4, 1936, facing southwest from across the intersection of Avenue A at 3rd Street

Businesses on the ground floor of 4-story buildings along Avenue A include the H. Chagrin Dry Goods store and Weinberg’s Luncheonette. Note the empty storefront on the corner; also the trolley tracks on the cobblestone street in foreground. The tracks had been part of The Forty-Second Street and Grand Street Ferry Railroad, a 19th century horse-drawn streetcar line which began operations in 1862, extending from the 42nd Street Ferry on the Hudson River to the Grand Street Ferry on the East River.