The Real Deal New York

This month in RE history: Fifth Avenue Association is formed, GE gives skyscraper to Columbia University … and more

June 16, 2016 05:40PM


From the June issue: Merchants and residents of Fifth Avenue floated plans to organize a business improvement group called the Fifth Avenue Association 109 years ago this month. Thirty merchants, led by Robert Grier Cooke, held their first meeting at the Fifth Avenue Hotel. The association, a predecessor of today’s business improvement districts, sought to improve the condition of Fifth Avenue between 31st and 42nd Streets. Among the first issues at hand was improving garbage collection and street lighting — and alleviating traffic. “The congestion of this part of Fifth Avenue is very great, and this should, by all means, be done away with,” Cooke said at the first meeting. At the time, the genteelness of Fifth Avenue was under threat from a burgeoning garment district. [more]