The Real Deal New York

PHOTO: See the London Terrace apartments in 1943

Unearthed 1940s-era photos depict city landmarks, icons

October 13, 2015 02:30PM

Built in 1929 by developer Henry Mandel, the London Terrace apartment complex remains a commanding presence – encompassing an entire city block, between West 23rd and West 24th streets and Ninth and Tenth avenues, in Chelsea.

The complex contains around 1,700 apartments in 14 contiguous buildings reaching as high as 19 stories. Constructed at a cost of $25 million at the time (more than $348 million today), Mandel’s development became the largest apartment building in the world.

Now, thanks to a collaboration between Yale University and the Library of Congress, a glut of World War II-era photos of New York City have been made available to view – and they include a shot of London Terrace towering over Chelsea, as imposing in 1943 as it is today.

London Terrace 1943

The London Terrace apartment complex in 1943 (credit: John Vachon)

The photos were part of the federal government’s efforts to promote the Farm Security Administration by commissioning photographers to shoot across America, according to Curbed.

They include shots of iconic New York locations like Grand Central Terminal and the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park, and provide a fascinating time capsule of New York City between 1935 and 1946.

As for London Terrace, today the complex operates under two separate entities – the London Terrace Towers co-op, managed by Douglas Elliman Property Management, and the London Terrace Gardens rental building, managed by Rose Associates.

The two entities went to court last year over access to the complex’s half-Olympic-size indoor swimming pool. [Curbed]Rey Mashayekhi