Tudor City, the massive apartment complex on the far east side of midtown Manhattan, is often referred to as a city-within-a-city. Considered by some an architectural masterpiece, it was created by real estate developer Fred F. French. It’s said to be the first residential skyscraper complex in the world.
Beyond its sheer size — immense for its time — Tudor City set a pattern for urban residential development by creating from scratch what was designed to be an essentially self-sustaining community. The ways in which money was raised to build Tudor City in the 1920s made the complex an important milestone in the history of real estate development.
Much of the story of Tudor City revolves around the value of land in New York City. The area served as a much-contested site in the 1970s and 1980s, with developers and preservationists fiercely battling it out on the streets and in the courts. A notable cast of characters including Governor Nelson Rockefeller, Mayor John Lindsay, and Representative Ed Koch entered the fray, with developer extraordinaire Harry Helmsley ably playing the role of villain. (His rival in real estate, one Donald J. Trump, makes a cameo appearance.) The almost century-long rollercoaster ride of Tudor City reflects the ups and downs of New York City, New York State, and the United States.
Lawrence R. Samuel’s new book Tudor City: Manhattan’s Historic Residential Enclave (The History Press, 2019) tells the story of Tudor City. Samuel is the founder of AmeriCulture, a Miami- and New York City based consultancy dedicated to translating the emerging cultural landscape into business opportunities. Larry writes the Psychology Yesterday, Boomers 3.0 and Future Trends blogs for psychologytoday.com, and his previous books include The End of the Innocence: The 1964–1965 New York World’s Fair (2007) and New York City 1964: A Cultural History (2014).
Book Purchases made through this Amazon link help support The New York History Blog‘s mission to report new publications about the history of New York. If you found this notice helpful, you can contribute directly to The New York History Blog at our Rally.org fundraising page. Books noticed on The New York History Blog may have been provided by their publishers.