My Father's Work at Equitable

by Robert Jones

          My name is Robert Jones.  I was born in Brooklyn in 1927.  When I was about 10 or 11 years old we moved to Sunnyside Gardens.  We moved into 40-02 44 Street, a house that had been recently vacated by Lewis Mumford, a great devotee of Sunnyside Gardens.

          My father worked for Equitable Life Insurance Company.  He was responsible for managing the large number of Sunnyside homes that were owned by Equitable.  The 44th Street house was sold out from under us and we moved to 39-43 46 Street.

          My father's job was to manage, rent or sell the houses belonging to Equitable.  He employed a staff of gardeners to maintain the common areas.  At the time, a one-family attached brick house was selling for about $8600.  The rent was about $60 a month.  My father had a sales pitch that showed people how they could buy the house with a mortgage from Equitable, pay all taxes and maintenance, and own the house in 20 years for less than $60 a month.  But nobody would buy.  The Depression mentality I guess.  Later, during the war, the houses started selling like hot-cakes.  My father had bought the house we lived in so we didn't get bought out.