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Isolated Beauty

by Yori Yanover


Here’s what everything one writes about Amalgamated Dwellings must include: In 1927 the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America sponsored a co-op complex near Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. In 1930 the union began work on the six-story Amalgamated Dwellings on the block bounded by Grand, Columbia, Sheriff and Broome Streets. Abraham Kazan, who later built Co-op City in the Bronx, directed the project for the union.

But none of the above prepares you for the calm majesty of the Amalgamated courtyard. It’s a scene out of old fairy tales, as Viennese as the Bambi dreams of the Austrian workers who first erected this very structure thousands of miles from here. It is a place to be experienced alone.

Now, when I was pointing my camera at this glorious corner of solitude, my back was turned on several hundred Orthodox Jews who were celebrating most exuberantly the completion of a Torah scroll inside and outside the Amalgamated community room. The air was rich with song and joy, spilling out every which way – and yet, look at this undisturbed, isolated beauty…

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