Amsterdam Houses
West End to Amsterdam Avenue, West 61st to 64th Street
Grosvenor Atterbury, Harvey Wiley Corbett, and Arthur C. Holden, 1947

Click here for the Amsterdam Houses Advocacy Page

Home to thousands, including many World War II veterans, and an incubator for civil rights activism in the post-war New York, the buildings and tree-covered grounds of Amsterdam Houses are a resource worthy of a secure and celebrated place on the Upper West Side. In contrast to later towers-in-the-park developments, this 13-building public housing complex was one of the last such projects "to define open space along Classicaly inspired lines and to exhibit brickwock that was carefully detailed to create simply ornament," according to Robert A.M. Stern. The Amsterdam Houses design team included some of the most prestigious professionals working in New York City at the time: architects Grosvenor Atterbury, Harvey Wiley Corbett and Arthur C. Holden worked together with landscape architects Gilmore D. Clarke and Michael Rapuano to come up with a plan aligned with the city grid and oriented on a central landscaped axis running west from Amsterdam Avenue towards the Hudson River. Amsterdam Houses marks the end of an era when government viewed the creation of model housing for low-cincome citizens as a social responsibility. It exemplifies an early effort by the New York City Housing Authority to ensure racial and ethnic diversity in one of its projects. Today, despite wear and tear and some alterations, such as the removal of the original steel windows, many of the architectural and landscape features that speak to the significance of Amsterdam Houses as a well-designed, community-oriented public housing project remain largely intact.