On a chilly Monday night in December, a crowd of partygoers descended on the Marina del Rey, a lavish waterfront event space in the eastern Bronx. At first glance, an outsider might have mistaken the gathering for a wedding, or perhaps a high-school reunion. But circulating through the crowd were some of New York’s biggest political heavyweights: city councilors and state legislators, a congressman, the city comptroller, the attorney general elect, and even at one point, Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The event, in fact, was a birthday party—not for a person, but for a place. Co-op City, the massive middle-income housing complex in the northern Bronx that remains the city’s (and the country’s) largest affordable-housing development, was celebrating its 50th anniversary.