The Astral Apartments opened in 1886 as one of the first examples of housing in industrial areas that aimed to be both beautiful on the outside and socially responsible on the inside. Greenpointers delves into the history of the handsome red-brick building, which oil magnate Charles Pratt built for his workers. Forget the old English "decorative molded bricks, asymmetrical massing, arched entryways, roof gables, carved sandstone and terra cotta ornamentation," because the real highlights were the very first of what we'd deem necessities today: light (at least one window per room), ventilation, toilets, and fireproofing. In the 19th-century version of what we now call "amenities", the Astral had a lecture room and library, an in-house kindergarten, roof access for clothes-drying purposes, and ground-level retail that tenants were meant to operate in a co-op system. As evidenced by the sketch above, American Architect and Building News even covered the place, so it must have been a big deal. Modern-day nuisances like bedbugs and toxic mold can't ruin a backstory this cool, can it?
· Forgotten Greenpoint: The Astral [Greenpointers]