Collection Spotlight: The Real Estate Brochure Collection at Avery Library

A marketing image of 2 Fifth Avenue. Image from the New York Real Estate Brochure Collection at Avery Library. Image courtesy of Avery Library.

A marketing image of 2 Fifth Avenue.

Curbed New York recently posted an engaging photo montage on their site featuring vintage real estate images. The article reminded us here at Off the Grid about a most useful collection for researchers interested in the development of housing across New York City, the New York State Real Estate Brochure Collection at Avery Library at Columbia University.

According to the collection description, the Real Estate Brochure Collections includes over 9,000 items such as advertising brochures, floor plans, and price lists for commercial and residential space in all five New York City boroughs. The majority of the collection focuses on apartment and other residential spaces. The collection was scanned and is accessible online. You can search by address or by neighborhood.

A photograph and description of 40 Fifth Avenue. Image from the New York Real Estate Brochure Collection at Avery Library. Image courtesy of Avery Library.

A photograph and description of 40 Fifth Avenue. Image from the New York Real Estate Brochure Collection at Avery Library. Image courtesy of Avery Library.

Since Greenwich Village developed early in the city’s history, there are fewer large scale apartment buildings in the neighborhood as compared to say, the Upper West Side. Nevertheless, there are some standout examples.  40 Fifth Avenue, built in 1929, and the midcentury 2 Fifth Avenue are standouts.  So are examples from the prolific apartment developers Bing & Bing—45 Christopher Street and 2 Horatio Street. You can find floor plans for all these buildings in the collection.

You can access the New York State Real Estate Brochure Collection here. Want a little more background on the development of apartment house living? Check out this article on the collection by Streetscapes columnist Christopher Gray, or you can learn more about these particular Village buildings in their designation reports on the GVSHP website.


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avatar Sheryl Woodruff is GVSHP's Senior Director of Operations.