This collection of digitized ephemeral advertising material constitutes an invaluable resource for studying and conducting research about New York City apartment buildings. The user can browse or search by address, building name, neighborhood, architect, and owner/agent. Buildings are illustrated by interior and exterior views, floor plans and are also encoded with GIS coordinates so that locations and neighborhoods can be displayed using the Google Maps application. Users of the site are able to contribute comments about individual buildings, thereby enabling the creation of an even richer set of descriptions and potentially valuable historical context.
The collection itself was donated to Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library by Yale Robbins, Henry Robbins, and David Magier in 1986. The collection consists of over 9,200 advertising brochures, floor plans, price lists, and related materials that document residential and commercial real estate development in the five boroughs of New York and outlying vicinities from the 1920s to the 1970s. Columbia University Libraries is digitizing the entire collection. Brooklyn and Manhattan are now complete with over 13,000 images for approximately 3,000 buildings. Digitized images for the remaining boroughs are scheduled to be released later in 2010.