6. Westbeth Artists Housing

Westbeth is the largest artist community in the US, if not the world. It was conceived in the 1960s as a partial solution to the acute need to provide affordable housing and studios for artists and their families. In so doing, it became one of the first examples of adaptive reuse of industrial buildings for artistic and residential use in the United States. Located in New York City in Manhattan’s Far West Village, it is a complex of 13 buildings which were formerly the site of Bell Laboratories (1868-1966), one of the world’s most important research centers. It was here that the first talking movie, the condenser microphone, the first TV broadcast, and the first binary computer were demonstrated.

With innovative funding from the J. M. Kaplan Foundation, and Roger Stevens of the National Endowment for the Arts, Westbeth became an ambitious renovation project designed to create 384 live-work spaces for artists of all disciplines and their families under the direction of developer Dixon Bain. Westbeth opened in 1970. It was added to the National Registrar of Historic Places on Dec 8, 2009. Subsequently, the New York State Historic Preservation Board nominated it to be on the State Registrar of Historic Places. In 2011 the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission unanimously designated Westbeth Artists Housing a New York City landmark.

Tours led by Westbeth residents will take place every 30 minutes from 12 to 5 PM on Saturday, October 13 and Sunday, October 14.