The Dumbell Apartment

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Name does not inspire trust, residents say. If you live in New York, you know these buildings and probably lived in one at some point (or still do...). These are the ones that have the well worn stairs, the central staircase, the old toilet doors in the hallway and NO CLOSETS anywhere. This is the "dumbell" layout that won a design competition sponsored by The Plumber and Sanitary Engineer magazine (yup,) in 1879 and fueled a major housing boom thereafter.... Really, late summer muggy days like today make one ponder things like tenements and their history. MGR (Editor's Note: Modified version appeared 3/19/04.)

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