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Parkway Village

About this listing

Built as housing for United Nations staff

Place Details

Borough : Queens
Neighborhood : Kew Gardens
Residential, Housing

Place Matters Profile

The colonial revival homes of this lovely 37-acre residential development--bordered by Main Street, Union Turnpike, 150th Street, Goethals Avenue, Parsons Boulevard, and the Grand Central Parkway--were one of New York City's first integrated housing developments. Opening in 1947, it was built to house United Nations employees, but others were quickly allowed in. Figures like Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Ralph Bunche, an African American U.N. leader, civil rights leader Roy Wilkins, and famed feminist Betty Friedan all lived there in the early 1950s. One hundred and ten two-story buildings mix with the more than 1,800 trees on the landscaped grounds and provide 685 apartments. The buildings, although apartments, are not laid out on a grid pattern but, as in a suburban "garden city" plan, with plenty of open green space. Parkway Village represented the rarely attained vision of a harmonious multiracial, multiethnic, multicultural community.

Parkway Village opened in 1947 as one...

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Barrett, George. "Life in the U.S. as Seen by the U.N. Staff." New York Times. May 2, 1948.

Betts, Mary Beth. Letter from the Landmarks Preservation Commission to the Parkway Village Equities Corporation. April 27, 2000.

Biondi, Martha. To Stand and Fight: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Postwar New York City. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2003.

Bond, Julian. Letter from the NAACP to the Landmarks Preservation Commission. September 27, 1999.

Bunche Jr., Ralph. "Memories, Reflections... and Observations." UN Chronicle. No. 3, 2003.

Caro, Robert A. The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York. New York: Vintage Books, 1975.

Columbine, Trude, Yashoda Dilwali, and Lottie Robbins. Interviewed by Elena Martinez for Place Matters. November 22, 1999.

Figueroa, Carlos. Statement.

Figueroa, Fred, Elayne Jones, and George Li. Interviewed by Elena Martinez for Place Matters. September 28, 1999.

"First of 685 U.N. Homes in Queens Inspected by Lie, Who Gets Key." New York Times. April 12, 1947.

Guttman, Judith. Interviewed by Elena Martinez for Place Matters. September 9, 1999.

Hazelkorn, Anne, Judith Guttman, and Lili Wronker. Interviewed by Elena Martinez for Place Matters. February 16, 2000.

Kaufman, Ned. Letter from the Municipal Art Society to the Landmarks Preservation Commission. October 15, 1999.

Li, James T.C. (Jimmy). Statement.

"Parkway Village Faces Rent Rises." New York Times. July 1, 1952.

Parkway Villager. January 1953.

Schwartzman, Bryan. "For Landmark, It Takes a Village." Queens Tribune. December 3-9, 1998.

Stern, Robert A.M., Thomas Mellins, and David Fishman. New York 1960: Architecture and Urbanism Between the Second World War and the Bicentennial. New York: Monacelli Press, 1995.

Village Gazette. September 1981.

York, Marva. “A Strictly Grade-A School.” New York Daily News. September 18, 1980.


Judith Guttman

The decision to create Parkway Village as housing for United Nations staff helped solidify the building of the United Nations in New York, as opposed to another more financially stable city.

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