LaGuardia Community College (LaGuardia) and the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) jointly announced the donation of REBNY’s papers, and other historical items from the late 19th century through the present, to the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives (the Archives). Housed on the LaGuardia campus in Long Island City, Queens, the Archives serves as a repository of collections that illuminate the social and political history of New York City. Highlights of the collection include the REBNY Diary and Manual, an annual book that compiles changes in building codes and zoning updates, reflecting major issues facing New York real estate each year.
The REBNY collection will be made available for examination to LaGuardia students, as well as for researchers, policy makers, journalists, and urban planners.
“We are pleased to donate our documents and artifacts to the LaGuardia Community College. This collection of New York City real estate history will now be available to students, researchers, and the general public for generations to come,” said REBNY President, John H. Banks. “The addition of REBNY’s records to the other historical collections housed by LaGuardia, together present important snapshots of key moments in New York City’s history.”
“REBNY’s decision to contribute their collection to our college’s LaGuardia and Wagner Archives is monumental,” said LaGuardia Community College President, Gail O. Mellow. “Researchers seeking understanding about New York City will have more than 125 years of documentation about land use, ownership, design trends, and building codes — revealing the people who have built our city and lived, worked, and visited here, as well as signals about what the future may hold. And as an educational tool, our students will have the rare privilege of studying from original documentation — an experience that should deepen their understanding of our city’s history, and how it’s linked to their current lives. It becomes an intellectually alive process — showing the students that they’re a part of history.”
The REBNY Collection will exist alongside the mayoral and personal papers of nine former New York City mayors, as well as the records of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the New York City Council, and the additional collections of the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives.
“Having the REBNY collection exist next to the records of both NYCHA and the City Council is entirely apposite,” said Richard Lieberman, PhD, professor of history and director of the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives. “Researchers will have a single source from which to access New York City’s public and private real estate history for the past 125 years, and to examine the legislative policies from the City Council that impacted this history. Both NYCHA and REBNY, representing public and private housing, are essential parts of New York City’s story—together revealing how our neighborhoods were shaped, community revitalizations, and much more.”
In addition to the REBNY Diary and Manual that compiles annual changes in building codes and zoning updates and tracks REBNY membership, the donated collection features more than 300,000 property cards for houses, buildings, and other private properties located in Manhattan from the 1920s through the 1990s (after which time these records were continued by the New York City Department of Buildings). Each card contains information about property ownership, sales prices, and more.
Many of these documents will be digitized, allowing the documents to live both online to ensure global access, and in the physical space at the Archives on the LaGuardia Community College campus located in Long Island City, Queens.
The Archives encourages New York City architects, urban planners, real estate developers, and builders, who also contributed to shaping New York City, to consider donating their archival records to the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives for posterity. Those interested should contact Archivist Douglas Di Carlo at (718) 482-5065 or [email protected].
Click here to watch a video about the REBNY Collection and the process of its donation to the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives at LaGuardia Community College, part of The City University of New York.