February 13, 2017


This blog has previously profiled Murphy beds and casement windows, two staples of Tudor City apartments. Today we turn to another design element, the efficiency kitchen, primarily found in the buildings originally opened as apartment hotels ‒ No. 5, No. 25, No. 45, and the Woodstock. Apartment hotels offered hotel services like maid service, a central switchboard and room service from the onsite restaurant. It was thought that tenants would order up all their meals, and thus there was no need for elaborate kitchens.

It didn't quite turn out that way. Just as Tudor City was completed came the Great Depression, and all at once room service was a luxury that few could afford. Generations of Tudor City residents have been coping with minuscule kitchens ever since.
A typical Tudor City efficiency kitchen, around 1930.
Venetian blinds and colonial furniture were in fashion at that time.
These efficiency kitchens were carefully designed, with Fred French collaborating with the Frigidaire Company to come up with a space-saving half-fridge. Below, details from a 1927 Frigidaire ad, detailing the design.

It certainly was efficient, although a crucial element is missing ‒ some kind of stove for hot food and drink. This was naturally of no interest to the Frigidaire folks, and one can only assume that a hot plate parked near the closest electrical outlet completed the efficiency kitchen.

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