From Urban Renewal to Urban Luxury Park West Village

Affordable apartments with fresh air, good light, and attractively landscaped grounds for middle-income people—those were the goods Park West Village was created to deliver in the late 1950s and early 1960s as part of a government-subsidized urban redevelopment plan.

Park West Village (PWV) comprises seven buildings with about 2,500 apartments. Four buildings are in the 97th to 100th Street super-block between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue on Manhattan's Upper West Side, and all have a CPW address. The other three buildings are in the 97th to 100th Street super-block between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues; they have a Columbus Avenue address.

Until l987, all PWV apartments were rent-stabilized. In l987, the buildings at 372 and 382 Central Park West were converted to condominiums; the buildings at 392 and 400 CPW became condos in 1991. At that point, some names were changed, though Park West Village remained a single mini-neighborhood entity.

"Park West Village used to refer to all of the seven lookalike buildings between Central Park West and Amsterdam from 97th to100th," says Barbara Earnest of the Park West Neighborhood History Group. "When the four buildings off CPW turned condo, they were renamed Central Park West Towers," though she adds that the "Towers" appellation is generally only used among brokers — residents and property managers know the community by its original name.

It Takes a Village

One of the city's largest and most controversial "urban renewal" projects, Park West Village was initially known as Manhattantown, and then as West Park Apartments. The complex was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and was built by Webb & Knapp, legendary builder William Zeckendorf's development company, and the Aluminum Company of America. The multi-block development took more than a decade to come to fruition in 1960 and scandals relating to it ultimately led to a rethinking of the "slum clearance" programs of the era.


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