Located in the Northeast corner of the Bronx, in the area known as Baychester, sits the largest housing cooperative in the world. Co-op City is home to about 50,000 people; if it suddenly decided to secede from Bronx County, it would be one of the 15 largest cities in the state.
“Co-op City as a stand-alone would be the 10th largest city in New York—it’s massive,” says Herbert Freedman, principal of Marion Scott Real Estate, which oversees the operation of Riverbay Corporation, Co-op City’s management company.
A Long History
Years ago, on the 300-acre plot of marshy land along the west bank of the Hutchinson River where Co-op City now rises, there once was an American history-themed amusement park called Freedomland. The park lasted only four years (from 1960 to 1964) before it filed for bankruptcy and was shuttered permanently.
Prior to Freedomland, the land occupied by Co-op City was reincarnated several times — first as the home of the Siwasnoy Indians, then as a cucumber farm and pickle factory, then as a failed municipal airport. The planning and building of Co-op City began in 1965 after the demolition of Freedomland, with the first apartment building completed in 1968. While the project was officially completed in 1973, some building continued up till the early 1980s.
Co-op City was the largest construction project of the United Housing Foundation (UHF), a non-profit organization created in 1951 to promote consumer cooperatives and housing.