65 Mott St – First Tenement in New York City

The first building in New York constructed specifically as a tenement is located at 65 Mott St. Built about 1824, 65 Mott St was a seven-story walk-up that towered over its two-story wooden neighbors.

In a typical apartment, the 12-by-12-foot front room served as kitchen, dining room and living room. The 8-by-10-foot back room was an unventilated ”sleeping closet.” One of these apartments might house as many as 12 people. When constructed, the building had neither electricity nor plumbing. The interior hallways were pitch black, even in daytime. The stairs were (and still are) unusually steep. Residents would avoid using them for fear of falling in the darkness, instead opting to throw their garbage and waste out of the windows of their individual apartments.

Today, the building is still residential.

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