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Columbia University Digital Knowledge Ventures The Architecture and Development of New York City with Andrew S. Dolkart
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Tudor City
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Keeping Them in the City
Tudor City
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This idea of taking the Tudor design is extended even further with the design of Tudor City. Tudor City is right in the heart of Manhattan. It's on the far east side at Forty-second Street. And it was a complex that was built by the Fred F. French Company. Fred F. French was one of the largest developers in New York of both apartment houses and office buildings. And French purchased land at the far east side between about Forty-first Street and Forty-third Street. And his idea was to build an apartment complex where people could walk to work. In the 1920s, Midtown had developed as the second downtown, with large skyscrapers being erected around Grand Central Terminal. And so the land in east Midtown was becoming increasingly valuable. And so French purchased an enormous amount of land, land that wasn't that desirable because just to the east where the United Nations is located now were a series of slaughterhouses, so the view wasn't very nice, and the smell couldn't have been very nice either.

But he was able to assemble a large amount of land, and he built a complex that included apartment houses with large apartments in them, as well as a series of apartment hotels with smaller apartments, so that he could cater to single people, to families, to people that wanted to live in the city convenient to where they worked but also live in this suburban environment.

So the use of Tudor detail is very evident, especially at the top stories of the tall hotel buildings. And then they're advertised with huge neon signs that said "Tudor City" on them, which you could see from all the way down to Times Square.

French began an extraordinary advertising campaign to attract people to Tudor City, with many different advertisements in the New Yorker and in Playbill. And this is one of my favorite advertisements, and it's a couple that's gone to the theatre and they're getting up before the play is over, and they have a terrible expression on their face. And the text reads, "For years he hasn't seen a play to the end. Just at the crucial moment in the last act he gropes his way past protesting neighbors to make a dash for the 11:10," clearly to the suburbs.
But, no longer. In October he moves to Tudor City. His commuting days are over. Henceforth he will stroll to the theatre from this oasis of peace and quiet, with its green grass and shady trees, ten minutes walk from Broadway.

Tudor City has all the conveniences of living. A restaurant, maid and valet service, a miniature eighteen-hole golf course . . . .

Live in Tudor City and walk to business.


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