Demographics

‘The Story of Electchester, the City-within-a-City Built for Electricians,’ by Kayla Levy

— Katy Schneider, features editor, New York

We were fairly stunned to find out that just a few miles from Flushing, there exists a co-op complex called Electchester that is overrun with electricians. We had to know more: How did there come to be such a place? The answer is fairly straightforward, writer Kayla Levy discovered. In the early ’50s, like many other unions at the time, the Local No. 3 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers built affordable housing for its members. (The International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union had housing back then, as did the Meat Cutters.) What’s not so common is that — though residents like to say otherwise — in 2023, Electchester seems to operate a lot like it did 70 years ago. There’s still a bowling alley on the ground floor of the union hall. An annual Christmas-tree lighting, wired by resident electricians. And a Cub Scout troop that convenes Friday evenings in a basement “rumpus room” to practice reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
Welcome to Electchester It remains basically as it was imagined in 1949: a surprisingly affordable city-within-a-city full of electricians.
Photo: The Archives of the Joint Industry Board of the Electrical Industry
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