40 Debevoise Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

East Williamsburg

housing, NYCHA, "affordable housing"

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Cooper Park Houses has eleven, 7-story buildings with 699 apartments housing about 1,753 residents. Completed June 8, 1953, the 12.14-acre development is bordered by Frost Street, Morgan, Kingsland, and Maspeth Avenues.[1]

Peter Cooper and the Peter Cooper Glue Factory

Cooper Park Houses and the nearby Cooper Park are named after the philanthropist, industrialist and inventor Peter Cooper (1791-1883).  Cooper made his fortune in iron, glue, railroads, real estate and communications. His inventions include the first trans-Atlantic telegraph cable and Tom Thumb, America’s first functioning steam engine. Cooper also invented Jello, ran for president in 1876 as a candidate with the Greenback  Party, and in 1859 he established Cooper Union, which continues to provide students with full-tuition scholarships in architecture, art, and engineering.[2]

In 1821 Cooper purchased a working glue factory along the Manhattan shore at Kips Bay (Kips Bay was later filled in and developed).  In 1838 he relocated the business to Maspeth Ave and Gardner Ave in Brooklyn, just a few blocks away from the present day Cooper Park Houses.  The smells and pollution from this factory were enough to catch the attention of the State Board of Health and Governor Flowers, who in 1894 ordered a "purification" of Newtown Creek.[3]   Cooper retired from the glue business in 1865 and sold the factory to family members who moved the business to Gowanada, NY in 1904.  This factory was shuttered in 1985, listed as a Federal Supefund site in 1998, and as of 2009 the property is undergoing remediation.[4] 
  1. nyc.gov.  "Cooper Park Houses".  <http://www.nyc.gov/html/nycha/html/developments/bklyncooperpark.shtml>.  Accessed 9/13/10.
  2. nycgovparks.org.  "Cooper Park: NYC department of Parks and Recreation".  <http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/B025/>.  Accessed 9/13/10.
  3. New York Times.  12/12/1894.  "The Nuisances Must Go: Governor Flower Says That Newtown Creek Must Be Purified"
  4. yosemite.epa.gov.  "7/28/2009: Cleanup Work Begins at Peter Cooper Superfund Site".<http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/d10ed0d99d826b068525735900400c2a/95045da180a68485852576010056070a!OpenDocument>  Accessed 9/13/10

Newtown Creek Alliance

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