New York City YMCA building and property records
SCOPE AND CONTENTS OF THE COLLECTION
The YMCA of Greater New York Building and Property Records collection focuses on maintenance and renovation of branch buildings in the period 1960 to 1990. However, there is also consderable material related to the controversey involving the sale of building rights over the West Side branch in the 1980s and 1990s. The Vanderbilt branch is also highlighted in the collection by material related to significant renovations at the Vanderbilt branch in the 1980s.
In addition to the large number of materials related to maintenance and renovations of buildings, the collection includes items such as insurance appraisals, deeds, zoning documents, emergency plans, building and pool inspection reports, purchase and sale documents and mortgage information.
- YMCA of Greater New York. (Organization)
Conditions Governing Access
Open for use in the Elmer L. Andersen Library reading room.
Conditions Governing Use
This collection may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law.
HISTORY OF PROPERTY AND BUILDINGS AT THE YMCA OF GREATER NEW YORK
The YMCA in New York City operated from rented rooms for the first 17 years of its existence. In 1869, the organization’s first purpose-built structure opened at 23rd Street and Fourth Avenue (now Park Avenue). The Y partly funded the project by renting space on the ground floor to artists and merchants, a practice that ended after World War I. Several other buildings followed.
A building boom began around 1900 in both Brooklyn and Manhattan. In 1904, the New York association moved from its 1869 building into new quarters. Brooklyn opened three new buildings and retired the mortgages on two others. Two branches were opened in the Bronx in 1904. Already large buildings received additions. Brooklyn Central, called “the largest branch in the world,” opened in 1915.
The YMCA paid for its building boom in part with funds given by wealthy philanthropists that included John D. Rockefeller, Mrs. Russell Sage, Mrs. A.D. Julliard, the Vanderbilt family, the Dodge family, and Miss Helen Miller Gould.
By the 1920s the YMCA had become a major property figure in the city, operating many dozens of branches and centers in owned and leased facilities. In addition, the YMCA occasionally received gifts and bequests of buildings and land. The Y usually sold these properties to support the work of the organization and tended to avoid the role of landlord.
Like other property owners in the city, the YMCA contended with a wide range of issues that included working with contractors and suppliers, architects, insurance companies and the City of New York. The properties experienced heavy use and needed frequent repairs and renovation. Increased safety and zoning regulations added complexity to already challenging operations.
The need to alter and improve buildings was not only the result of changing regulations. Changing program needs, such as the introduction of day care programs in the 1970s, contributed to the ongoing effort to keep facilities up-to-date. The gradual admission of women to YMCA buildings and programs after World War II required the association to remodel its bathrooms, changing rooms and showers to accommodate these new members.
Real property is the most significant asset held by the YMCA of Greater New York. Maintaining the value of this asset and adjusting to changing needs of the people of New York City is a significant part of Y operations in the city.
Information from The YMCA at 150: A History of the YMCA of Greater New York 2852-2002 by Pamela Bayliss, and from the collection.
20.4 Cubic Feet (26 boxes )
Language of Materials
The collection includes contracts, inventories, blueprints and designs, bid documents, maintenance schedules, needs assessments, training materials, energy audits, appraisals, insurance policies and other materials related to the buildings and property owned by the YMCA of Greater New York. The bulk of the collection is from the period 1960-1990.
Material has been minimally processed.
Catalog Record ID number: 9974761589001701
- New York (N.Y.) Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- YMCA of Greater New York.
- Young Men's Christian associations -- Buildings Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Young Men's Christian associations -- New York (State) -- New York Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- YMCA OF GREATER NEW YORK
- An Inventory of its Building and Property Records
- Louise Merriam
- August, 2016
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note