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Justice for Bing & Bing

In response to:

Broad-Minded Museum from the March 20, 2008 issue

To the Editors:

In your March 20 issue, Martin Filler refers to “New York real estate magnate Leo Bing, who funded such seminal housing-reform schemes as Clarence Stein and Henry Wright’s Sunnyside Gardens of 1924–1928 in Queens, New York, and new town of Radburn, New Jersey, of 1928–1932.” Mr. Filler’s reference should be not to Leo Bing but to his younger brother, Alexander M. Bing. The younger Bing was president of the City Housing Corporation, which developed both projects. Paul Goldberger wrote in The New York Times, April 19, 1979: “With Clarence S. Stein and Henry Wright as architects and planners and the realtor Alexander Bing as financier, City Housing set out to create Radburn….” This was the same team that was responsible for Sunnyside Gardens.

Steven Jervis

Brooklyn, New York

Martin Filler replies:

During the 1970s, when I edited a book of Lewis Mumford’s collected architectural writings and for a while was his designated literary executor, he and I discussed at length his central role in the Regional Planning Association of America, the leading financial supporters of which were Leo Bing and his brother, Alexander, the founder and chief executive officer of the City Housing Corporation, which sponsored Sunnyside Gardens and Radburn. As partners in their family-owned commercial real estate development firm, Bing & Bing, both deserve credit for funding those housing-reform schemes. However, in my brief discussion of the philanthropy of Leo Bing’s widow, Anna Bing Arnold, I felt it appropriate and sufficient to mention her first husband, and not her brother-in-law.

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