Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Not Necessarily This Day In Knickerbocker Village History, April 1, 1933

A new feature for pseudo-intellectualism, since I discovered a wealth of stuff in the Times Archive and rather than email pdf's to my KV brethren I figured I could post it here:
Details of the model Housing Development on the lower east side to be financed with the $8.075,000 loan made on Thursday by the Re construction Finance Corporation were revealed yesterday by Fred French, president of the Fred French Operators, Inc., who obtained the loan. The loan, which is the first for housing made by the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, brings to a new phase a fight that has been waged for improvement of the east side ever since the late Robert W deForest first took up the battle 40 years ago. The project involves the purchase of all the land in the blocks bound- ed by Catharine, Monroe, Markel and Cherry Streets. As a part oi the land assembly, Hamilton Street, which extends diagonally across the site is to be vacated, creating s building site of 219,736 square feet area. With the exception of 54,000 square feet, which it has under option, the French company holds title to all the property in the two blocks. The Old "Lung Block."'
Situated In the most congested part of the lower east side, this site, Known as the "lung block" because of the prevalence of tuber-culosis in the area. is said to con- tain some of the worst examples of slum housing in existence. Their demolition is hailed as one of the most important steps ever under-taken to rebuild the section. Those rookeries, condemned as unfit for human habitation years ago, yet housing close to 3,000 men, women and children, will be demolished and replaced by twelve-story and. basement fireproof apartments of steel and concrete construction. They will contain 1,662 apartments and 6,030 rooms at an average rental of $12.50 a room per month. Mr French said yesterday that actual work on the project would begin about March 1 and that about 10,000 men wouh be employed directly and Indirectly for at least a year in tearing down the old structures and building the new. Outlining the features of Knickerbocker Village, as the development will be called, Mr. French said: "It will provide immediate unem- ployment relief, 2,000 men will be engaged actually on the site, an- other 8,000 in shops, foundries, factories, mines, lumber camps. About $8,000.000 will be distributed among about 10,000 people, averaging about $800 per person per year. "Slum clearance of one of the worst blocks th the city will begin as soon. as legal details are completed. Decent living quarters in every sense of the word will be provided for thousands of downtown workers who will be saved energy and time by having within walking distance of their work. This will also relieve traffic. The rehabilitation of the area. between Brooklyn Bridge and Fourteenth Street, East Broadway and the East River has occupied many committees and many years of constant concern. The construction of Knickerbocker Village will further this rehabilitation. It will also strengthen tinderlying security for about $75,000,000 worth of first mortgages held by savings banks and others, increasing also taxable values for the city in the neighbor. Mr. French thanked President Roosevelt, Secretary Woodin and former Governor Smith for the interest in the project. The grant for Knickerbocker Village. Mr. French declared, had "broken the ice." He predicted that loans would soon be made for other housing projects, and an-nounced that he had alfeady put in another application for a grant for further development in the district

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