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Tudor City, Manhattan, 10030




Tudor City is an apartment complex located on the East Side of Manhattan in New York City. It is bordered by East 40th Street to the South, First Avenue to the East, Second Avenue to the West and East 43rd Street to the North. Tudor City takes its name from England's Tudor dynasty (1485-1603), a golden age of arts and letters.


Before Tudor City, tenements and slums dominated the area, which bordered a power plant and slaughterhouses, along First Avenue on the East River. It was known as "Goat Hill" (goats and squatters ruled the area) and later "Prospect Hill". The area eventually developed into a shanty Irish community known as "Corcoran's Roost", founded by Jimmy Corcoran, in the 1850s and later became known as a community with a high rate of violent crime and a haven for waterfront thieves, most notably the Rag Gang, during the late 19th century.


In the 1920s, the real estate developer Fred F. French sought to lure tenants to Tudor City, his vision of an urban Utopia — a "human residential enclave" that boasted "tulip gardens, small golf courses, and private parks." The complex was built to bring in middle-class residents who had begun leaving the city for the outer boroughs and suburbs. A 1994 feature in The New York Times reported:


The historicist architecture of the buildings can be classified neo-Gothic rather than Tudor or the related English revival styles Tudorbethan (Mock Tudor) and Jacobethan. An earlier 1920s residential development in Manhattan, Hudson View Gardens, also built for suburban appeal, made explicit use of such Tudorbethan features as half-timbering.


Originally, two gardens flanked 42nd Street, with the south garden featuring a "miniaturized" 18-hole golf course. The Juilliard Brass Quartet often played in the north garden,[citation needed] and the area where Tudor Gardens (Number 2) stands today was the site of the legendary tennis courts where the likes of Pancho Segura, Bobby Riggs, Rudy Vallée, and Welby Van Horn played exhibition games.[citation needed] On at least one cold winter, the courts were flooded to create an ice skating rink for the community.[citation needed]


In the 1960s, the Fred F. French Company sold Tudor City to the Rabinowitz Corporation, which in turn sold it to the Helmsley Corporation in the 1970s. In May 1985, Harry Helmsley and Alvin Schwartz, sold their remaining properties in Tudor City to Philip Pilevsky of Philips International and Francis Greenburger of Time Equities. The new owners quickly set about converting Tudor City into co-op apartments, as was happening across the city. Conversions were completed with little problem[citation needed] but when the real estate market and economy slowed in 1989-1994, some co-op prices dropped significantly, as owners and investors were concerned that the co-ops themselves would become insolvent. In April 2008, New York Magazine recalled the 1989 slump:


In 1988 Tudor City was named an historic district by New York. Preservation efforts leading up to the designation had started 10 years earlier when Harry Helmsley proposed building towers atop two parks within the complex.




The natural topography of the area features a granite cliff. Nearby East-west streets slope downward from Second Avenue to First Avenue. East 41st and 43d Streets, however, slope upward to the clifftop and end at Tudor City Place. East 42nd Street slopes under Tudor City Place and down to First Avenue through a late 19th-century cut through the cliff, which was expanded in the mid-20th century to provide better access to the new United Nations Headquarters. With the cliff separating Tudor City from First Avenue below, it is accessible to vehicular traffic only via Second Avenue. A service entrance to 5 Tudor City Place is available from the "D" level, which is four floors below the lobby level. The service entrance exits at 40th and 1st Avenue allowing residents and building service staff to enter from 1st Avenue. A viaduct connects the two halves of Tudor City bisected by East 42nd Street, with staircases providing pedestrian access between 42nd Street and the complex. A separate staircase known as the Sharansky Steps connects Tudor City with Ralph Bunche Park and First Avenue.


Directly across First Avenue is the United Nations Headquarters. Only a few apartments face the United Nations because when the area was completed in 1928 there were slaughterhouses to the east; most apartments were built facing the opposite direction because of the stench and filth that emanated. In the 1940s, the slaughterhouses were demolished and the United Nations Headquarters was built in their place. As of the early 21st century, only a handful of apartments have high-priced views of the UN Headquarters and the East River. The majority of apartments face inland parks and the Midtown skyline. Many apartments have good views of the Chrysler Building and Empire State Building.


Tudor City's buildings are home to over 5000 residents. The complex includes restaurants, a hotel, grocery, a gourmet deli, and convenience stores, a hair salon, laundry and dry cleaners. Three garden parks and a children's playground are there.


Tudor City is known for its rooftop TUDOR CITY sign overlooking 42nd Street.


Tudor City is featured in a number of film and television programs. Movies filmed in Tudor City include The Godfather Part III, The Peacemaker, Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2, Splash, U.S. Marshals, Taxi Driver, and The Bourne Ultimatum. In the movie Scarface, a bomb is planted under the Governor's car at 5 Tudor City Place. Also Tudor City appeared in the opening credits of The Jeffersons.[citation needed] The Law & Order episode "The Wheel" and the Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode "Death Roe" also had brief exterior scenes filmed at the complex. In the film The International, Clive Owen's character is seen entering beneath a canopy marked "Woodstock Tower," one of the Tudor City buildings; however, the subsequent interior is not actually Woodstock Tower. Tudor City exterior shots were also recently seen on "Ugly Betty" in the episode entitled "The Butterfly Effect-Part 2" after Daniel and Betty left the United Nations photo shoot at 34 mins, 13 seconds into the show.


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