June 9, 2014

UJA Builds Their Own Office Building

Filed under: found in the archives — susanwoodland @ 10:59 am

In 1948 UJA began planning an office building to house their growing staff, and to escape the increasing rents of midtown Manhattan.  The threat of their rent going up to $4.50 a square foot was the impetus for board members to put together a plan to finance a new building at 220 W. 58th Street.

The architect was Hyman Isaac Feldman, a Jewish immigrant from Austria (an area now in Poland) who had a prolific career building primarily apartment buildings throughout many different neighborhoods in New York City.

Columbia University has an architectural database of real estate brochures for residential buildings in New York, which includes real estate brochures of 118  designs by Feldman or others in his firm.  His obituary in the New York Times mentions that Feldman was also responsible for the Federation building at 130 E. 59th Street, although it is unclear whether he worked on the original building or one of the renovations to combine buildings into the one we know today.  He won an award for best apartment house design in 1932 by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.


Architect's rendering of new UJA building at 220 W. 58th Street, NYC

Architect’s rendering of new UJA building at 220 W. 58th Street, NYC

Above is the architect’s rendering of the UJA building, complete with UJA on the front and late model sedans parked out front.  According to the UJA files on the building, from the office of Melville L. Rappaport, Assistant Secretary of UJA, the design included a map of Israel embedded in the terrazzo floor of the lobby, a nice touch for an organization that supported projects in Israel in the year following statehood.

The building until recently housed a New York City public school, but appears to have recently been demolished.  The link will take you to Google street view, which shows a variety of images of the building: in 2007 behind scaffolding to a 2014 image showing, sadly, an empty site.





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