OCTOBER 26, 1955
NEW YORK—I attended the dedication of the ILGWU cooperative village, located in New York's Lower East Side, on last Saturday afternoon. There are four apartment buildings, two of which are 22 stories and two are 21 stories, and 1,668 families will find new homes there soon.
From the terrace of one of the biggest apartments we looked over the whole layout and Mr. David Dubinsky showed us with pride the latest accomplishment of his union. (Incidentally, I put in an application when the next building is built for one of those apartments with a terrace.)
The view of the East River and the layout of the park below is really beautiful. There was light and air on every side and the rooms are of a good size.
This is a slum-clearance development. So, under the National Housing Act of 1949 and the Redevelopment Companies Law of New York City, the ILGWU was granted a 20-year, $15,800,000 mortgage. The East River Housing Corporation was formed to manage the property, and the city has granted partial tax exemption on the improvement of the land for 25 years. After that period the corporation will pay full taxes. Architecturally, the buildings are most attractive, and those responsible, Mr. George W. Springsteen and Mr. Herman J. Jessor, are to be congratulated.
The buildings are not the only consideration in a development such as this. A prior consideration concerned people living in this former slum area who had to be relocated. Eight hundred and seventy-eight families had to be moved and 110 substandard tenements were demolished. This was really a great achievement, made possible only by cooperation between labor, business and government, and much real value has been achieved for the citizens of New York City.
I received not long ago a most-delightful book, which should be in every family's library. It is "The American Treasury—1455 to 1955," selected and commented upon by Clifton Fadiman, assisted by Charles Van Doren. You couldn't ask for two better people to select from five centuries of prose, poetry and song and turn out a treasury. I think almost anyone will find things in this collection that they are glad to be reminded of and new things they never before had read as they turn the pages.
I also have been reading here and there in John Gunther's "Inside Africa." There is so much research back of this book and, though it is easy reading, it is so packed with facts that I think many people will find themselves doing what I did. I found myself looking up in the index certain points of interest and reading those particular parts and hoping later to read it all consecutively.
The book is very well written, as are all of John Gunther's books, and you will find yourself reading more than you intended. And perhaps that is what will eventually get you through every page of this long book, for every page is worth reading.