Cooperative City, Cooperative Community

To understand the particular pull of Co-op City, talk to Alex Cruz. Cruz grew up here, on the 24th floor of a chevron-shaped high rise with narrow corridors but wide windows. It’s where his father still lives. Their apartment looks out over a baseball diamond and playground, across a lawn to the building’s mirror image, another tower-in-the-park. In early spring the grass is still scrubby, Canada geese waddle about, and young cyclists cautiously wend down paths. Elsewhere in the city, the final melt of winter’s stubborn snow pack has exposed the detritus of a dreary season — countless cigarette butts and frozen pizza crusts — but here the grounds are immaculate. “It’s clean and beautiful. Compared to other places in the city, it’s night and day,” says Cruz. But that’s not what has kept him around. For Cruz it’s about affordability, convenience, and community.

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