Urban Mass A Look at Co-op City

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.

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16 Comments

  • i would like someone to start investigating the health issues arising from continuous pressurized steam release to the the hearing, long term stress and quality of life of the tenants of 100 coop city blvd.
  • Co-Op City is a great place to live, and the open space is wonderful.Can't wai till the Greenway is restored.
  • Cooperators should be able to move from one unit to another without any additional cost if one lives here for at least ten or twelve years.
  • A glorified ghetto. Whats making it worse is that now all the yuppies from the Manhattan are starting to move in which means they will chase the locals out the same way they did to the Upper Westside and Harlem. Nobody wants you here, go to Long Island where you belong
  • I think Coop City offers great space at affordable rates. I love it's openess and diversity.I have lived here for over 20 years, and I still think it is a great place. If it were a pet friendly community, that would make it even better!!!
  • Celeste - You sound very racist. By "yuppie" you mean white people.
  • I lived in coop city for 10 years now and my family and I lke it a lot. Sure there are some problems but they are being worked on. For instance, We now have new windows, elevators, balconies and the building structures are being worked on. It is not as great as it was in the beginning when it was first built, but it is still a nice place to live in my opinion. The rooms are spacious and it is in one of the better neighborhoods in the bronx.
  • I have lived here 3 months and I agree the diversity is unmatched not a perfect place but all the elements are in place to make it close if only the people get involved if you see something say something annonymously or not
  • Celeste, REALLY!!!? If Co-op City is a "glorified ghetto," then wouldn't it be a good thing that the "yuppies" are moving in and driving out the riffraff? You sound like a racist who has nothing better to do than to complain. Get up and do something constructive instead of beating it down and doing nothing about it. You're probably the reason the "yuppies" are moving in...to get rid of bigots like yourself. It would be a welcome change if you ask me.
  • You get out of Co op City what you put in. I love this place and encourage all people of good character to join our our community. Help us flush out the undisirebles.
  • I am considering buying in CC. I own my condo in Parkchester. I welcome the idea of integration am sure it will add a refreshing touch and change the climate of the environment on a whole.
  • consider this..on the plus side--free heat/ac and electric and very large rooms..the minus side--the rent keeps climbing, there are roach problems everywhere, and walls are paper thin. There is a constant battle among neighbors hearing each other's noise. Water/laundry seems to get shut off more than normal; finally, traffic in the surrounding area is bad now and will be sure to get much worse with all the shopping strucutres they are adding
  • To Celeste who said "glorified ghetto" and "yuppies" in the same post - you are quite the genius aren't you? (insert sarcasm). How about this, if you treat your community like it's "yours" and "co-operate" with your neighbors then maybe things will change. If you sit behind a screen and type ignorance then guess what...you just proved to outsiders that the residents are ignorant like they assume all of us are! No one wants to live with the ignorant or the bigots - RACISM COMES From ALL RACES AND ETHNICITIES SO STOP! Get involved, make it a place you are proud of. At a minimum have some respect, decency and consideration for those around you. If you are upset about something then why not contact management, the DHCR, HUD, your local politicians. YOU can always just move out. Too ghetto for you – then move on up. To “yuppie-ish” then well try Bed Stuy, it’s still fairly gritty and has that 1980’s burned out city vibe. I welcome all kinds of WORKING MIDDLE CLASS people to the community. All the lazy, destructive do-nothings can exit stage left. The developers are coming for the boro and lots of "yuppies" short for "young urban professionals" or "young upwardly-mobile professionals" are going to move in. Deal with it! Just like a lot of middle class residents dealt with the "low income" people who somehow got in to the complex! It's the ebb and flow of supply and demand. Anyone who thinks yuppie just means "white" person is dumb and needs to get a dictionary. In fact I'm going to start a Young Professionals of Co-op City group to shut you up!!! Look at Penn South in Manhattan they put Co-op City to shame. Put up or shut up. And if you don't know how to live in a working class community and respect your neighbors get ready to move cause they are coming for you! People are sick and tired of dealing with the BS here!
  • Everyone in their right mind should want a decent place like coop city every where else is so expensive i live on roosevelt island cant wait to be called for coop city
  • Honestly the apartments in Co-op City are a nice size, they just need to be updated with better/newer finishes. Whoever said that the walls are thin is wrong; most of the walls are in fact cast concrete. However, there are a few metal/plaster diving walls. In most new construction you will find the walls to be much thinner and the noise travels between units much more, even in "luxury rentals" in Manhattan. In Co-op City some of the tenants may be a bit too loud if you can hear them that easily. I would suggest writing a polite (anonymous) letter to your neighbors asking them to please keep noise down. This has worked quite well for me. If not call security because after 11pm the noise ordinance laws are applicable people. In the past few years the landscaping has improved greatly and they just finished revitalizing the ball courts on Asch Loop! Bellamy/Benchley courts to be revamped soon. The community has people that should not be residing here but, this is going to change soon because the housing crunch in the other boroughs is forcing people to consider other areas and also because certain requirements of the Wells Fargo/HUD backed loan. One thing that baffles me is that the community is not more vocal about the need for recreational spaces for both adults and youth. Back in the day we had access to the amenities at Truman, so I hear. We should have access to cooking classes, art classes, yoga, sports, swimming etc. Come on now! People want that back and hopefully we will achieve that goal. All in all Co-op City is a microcosm of the city as a whole. So no surprise there was rampant corruption, cronyism, and bureaucracy...welcome to NYC peeps, hi Shedon Silver! Only YOU can change it. It is a neighborhood that people should take pride in. No one should want it to be labeled "the hood" or a "tough ghetto" you can be tough but still keep your area clean, safe and devoid of thuggery. Even the Mafia kept it's neighborhoods nice. Co-op is one of the last middle income affordable places with lots of trees and open spaces. Mind you there are no gas or electric bills either so factor that in and I'd say it's a win. Now granted, I would not really want to pay equity of almost 30K to move into a 3 bedroom with terrace with the ugly cheap finishes and no fridge or stove or window shades/blinds. I do think that if Riverbay decides to market the complex in a better light/ to a wider demographic and they work with vendors to get large volume deals to obtain better finishes for the units and provide appliances and window treatments then you will see more people interested in becoming a part of a "co-operative community". People want more for that equity. Don't be fooled people Co-op is NOT the projects (they would NEVER have our landscaping or our tennis courts duh). Um and the "yuppies" comment LOL who even says that anymore OMG..... So weird that yuppie means "Young Urban Professional" and is associated with "white people" but the word "urban" is associated with what is referred to as "the minorities" (such a stupid and terrible term). How about just young professionals?! Granted it's not going to be a Williamsburg situation anytime soon BUT it is going to change. There are lots of young people who are sick of the race baiting BS and also aren't interested in having children so the schools are null and void. We just want to pay an affordable monthly payment for our flat and to be in a safe area where we can own a car and get around. Sounds like a tiny piece of the American dream. Maybe if we all start being thankful for the lives we live and also try to live within our means we can see the neighborhood as a blessing and something to be really proud of. Let me remind you that all over the world there are human beings living where bombs are constantly going off and wars are never ending. Sometimes a change in thinking goes a long way. Because if you don’t value what you have and what you can take and improve don’t come bitching when
  • @ Positive Thinking - Thank you for your thoughts on Co-op City. It was very well said. As a "child of Co-op City" who grew up there from 1975 -1996, it's a wonderful place to live especially due to its affordability and amenities. It annoys me when people put down Co-op City like it was an urban dump. It literally is a city within a city with Bay Plaza and the new mall there. I hope Co-op City will continue to draw people like yourself who appreciate the nice place it really is.