Morningside Gardens

This pleasant complex of cooperative apartments is on the northern edge of our neighborhood; for its location, please see our map. The building in foreground is the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. The complex, which was acquired for $1.3 million through Title 1 of the Housing Act of 1949, was the first urban renewal development in the city. It was put up in conjunction with General Grant Houses, a public housing development at Amsterdam Avenue and 125th Street. Although shareholders pride themselves on the spirit of egalitarianism -- it was one of the first places to openly welcome mixed-race couples -- and on the communal services that range from children's play groups to classes in such subjects as the art of stained glass and computer proficiency to a panoply of health, education and entertainment programs for senior citizens, the original mandate was less ideological. It was a slum clearance program. Determined to stop the urban blight creeping southward, nine academic and religious institutions in the area -- Columbia University, Union Theological Seminary, Jewish Theological Seminary, Riverside Church and Juilliard among them -- banded together to sponsor the project with the help of David Rockefeller. It is currently home to a divisive controversy about allowing market-rate sales of the apartments.

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