The Uptown Movement

Pictured, the Mali Estate with the Mali Mansion in the background. The land, and the surrounding area lay practically untouched by the urban world to the South of it.

One day MacCracken stumbled across a for sale sign in the Bronx advertising a large plot of land owned by Belgian consul and New York University graduate, H.W.T Mali. Upon seeing the estate, MacCracken decided that this land, with its spaciousness and impressive scenery, would be the perfect location for the new undergraduate college.

For more images of the Mali Estate and the Bronx, click the thumbnails below.

mali-house mali-house-distance mali-estate-snow fordham-road-now-u

Completed University Heights campus. "Now, the University will no longer be hidden under a bushel, but will be set on a hill-top and there will be not the slightest doubt as to its existence in the mind of anyone who passes University Heights.” University Quarterly magazine, 1894



MacCracken began soliciting donations to purchase the land by advertising the estate’s rural character, but also its proximity to Manhattan which would allow students to study the urban metropolis.The chancellor also emphasized his mission to help “create a permanent neighborhood of desirable character.”

The Harlem River with the University Heights campus in the background. MacCracken emphasized the beautiful scenery when advocating for the purchase of the Mali Estate.








Entrepreneur Jay Gould made the biggest monetary contribution towards the purchase of the Mali Estate.


In 1892, with the help of donors, most notably Jay Gould, a wealthy railroad tycoon, MacCracken secured enough funds to purchase the Mali Estate. His family would maintain close ties to NYU throughout the decades









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