Einstein’s First Dormitory

Sixty years ago—before the high-rise student housing on Eastchester Road existed—Einstein’s earliest students lived closer to the heart of campus: off the courtyard in what’s now known as the Harold and Muriel Block Building.

The photo above shows Dean Marcus D. Kogel, M.D., and professor of microbiology & immunology Edward J. Hehre, M.D., surveying the site, on which construction began in 1956. More than 1,000 people—including Samuel Belkin, Ph.D., president of Yeshiva University; New York senator Jacob Javits; and New York City mayor Robert Wagner—attended the new dormitory’s dedication in October 1957. The building was named after the late Abraham Mazer, a philanthropist who was also a College of Medicine founder and Yeshiva trustee. Some 300 students moved into the Abraham Mazer Residence Hall soon thereafter.

When the Eastchester Road apartments were completed in 1973, the Mazer building was reconfigured to house administrative offices. In 2012, one of the high-rise student housing buildings was renamed in honor of Abraham Mazer, and the former Mazer building became the Harold and Muriel Block Building in honor of Muriel Block’s major bequest to Einstein.

Today, the Block Building is home to the Block Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, the Global Health Center, the Montefiore Einstein Center for Bioethics, the department of family and social medicine and the department of epidemiology & population health’s division of biostatistics, among others.