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Columbia University Digital Knowledge Ventures The Architecture and Development of New York City with Andrew S. Dolkart
image Living Together Keeping Them in the City
Emulating the Suburbs
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Keeping Them in the City
Emulating the Suburbs
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Now many wealthy people begin moving into the apartment house, but many other wealthy people are attracted out of the city, and they're taking the new parkways, like the Bronx River Parkway, which was built in the mid-1920s, and moving to new suburban areas to the north of the city.

The architecture magazines began commenting on the fact that country life was occupying more and more of the time of what had formerly been city people. Some of these wealthy people might keep a small pied-à-terre in New York, but more and more people were moving out, more and more affluent people were moving out of New York entirely.

There was a fear that New York might become a city of the very rich and the very poor, with the entire middle class moving out to the suburbs, especially in Westchester County, just north of New York, and to a little bit lesser extent to Nassau County east of the city.

So developers were, and landowners were, fearful that their investment in New York was going to decline, that so many people were going to move out of the city that they wouldn't be able to build anymore, that they wouldn't be able to rent apartments. So they began to think of ways of trying to keep the middle class in New York City.

And one of the ways of keeping the middle class in New York was to emulate the suburbs. So this is Scarsdale, and Scarsdale is a mock English-Tudor village. By the nineteen-teens and the 1920s, Anglo-Saxon architecture becomes the symbol of American home life. Even as the United States was becoming increasingly less and less an Anglo-Saxon society, English architecture becomes a model, as well as American colonial architecture. These two, the English Tudor and American colonial, become models for suburban development. So this was what was being built out in the suburbs, so this begins to be built in the city, too.

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