Tudor City is an apartment
complex located on the East Side of Manhattan in New York
It is bordered by East 40th Street
to the South, First Avenue
to the East, Second Avenue
to the West and East
to the North.
Tudor City takes its name from England's Tudor dynasty
(1485-1603), a golden age of
arts and letters.
Tudor City, tenements and slums dominated the area, which bordered a power plant and slaughterhouses, along First Avenue on the
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
, 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
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
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
. The Juilliard Brass Quartet often played in the north garden, 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
On at least one cold winter, the courts were flooded
to create an ice skating rink for the community.
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 apartment
, as was happening across
the city. Conversions were completed with little problem 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
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.
Location and features
Western side, with "TUDOR CITY"
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
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
Park and First Avenue.
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
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 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
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
, U.S. Marshals
, Taxi Driver
, and The Bourne Ultimatum
the movie Scarface
bomb is planted under the Governor's car at 5 Tudor City Place.
Also Tudor City appeared in the opening credits of The Jeffersons
. 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" after Daniel and
Betty left the United Nations photo shoot.
- Nash, Eric Peter. Manhattan Skyscrapers. New York:
Princeton Architectural Press, 1999. (pg. 43) ISBN
- Wolfe, Gerard R. New York, 15 Walking Tours: An
Architectural Guide to the Metropolis. New York: McGraw-Hill
Professional, 2003. (pg. 355) ISBN 0-07-141185-2
- Dolkart, Andrew S. " Tudor City", in Living Together. Columbia