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Manhattan Plaza: New York's Socialist Housing Experiment

Ash Marinaccio | New York, NY, 10036, United States

At the height of the coronavirus pandemic nearly all of Manhattan Plaza's performing artist residents were out of work. The shut down of New York's theaters and performing arts had a devastating impact on the local economy. During the pandemic neighbors worked hard to take care of each other through meal shares, grocery shopping, and balcony performances to boost morale.

Manhattan Plaza, a 46-story residential complex located within blocks of New York City's theatre district, houses predominantly performing artists in theatre, film, and television. Constructed as a socialist experiment in the mid-1970s when nobody wanted to live in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood, in its short history, Manhattan Plaza has been the home of notable performers including Alicia Keys, Angela Lansbury, Tennessee Williams, Giancarlo Esposito, and Larry David. Residents of Manhattan Plaza pay a quarter of their salaries in rent. For this reason, many artists can pursue careers in the precarious arts field.

Getting into Manhattan Plaza is hard. Hopefuls must be added to a waitlist that opens every 8 years and be able to prove performing arts credits. Many other places around the United States are experimenting with housing complexes similar to Manhattan Plaza. This project investigates Manhattan Plaza throughout the coronavirus pandemic from 2019 through 2021.

The development of this photography project was commissioned and supported by Rattlestick Theatre’s “Block by Block” initiative and CUNY Graduate Center’s “From My Window”.

Commissioned by Rattlestick Theatre’s “Block by Block” initiative and CUNY Graduate Center’s “From My Window” initiative.

e-mail: ashmarinaccio@gmail.com

photography website: introublewiththeking.com

main website: ashmarinaccio.com

instagram: introublewiththeking 

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