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Life at an all-female dorm-style apartment in New York City 

A resident reserves and uses one of the beau parlors to get her work done at Webster Apartments in Manhattan. May 4, 2022. Photo by Quratulain Tejani

In the heart of New York City, a few steps from Penn Station, is a safe and vibrant space for women from all walks of life who came to this city to make their dreams come true. 

Located on 34th Street between 9th and 10th Avenue, Webster Apartments is a non-profit residence building for women that offers temporary residence up to 5 years to interns, graduate students, trainees and/or fellows in New York City. 

Webster Apartments was founded in 1923 through the generous funds dedicated to the mission of providing safe and affordable housing to single working women in New York City by the Webster brothers. Charles Webster and Josiah Webster came to the city in the late 1800’s. Charles worked at R.H. Macy’s since his arrival and later became a senior partner at the organization until 1889. When he died in 1916, he left most of his wealth to this cause. Josiah Webster then oversaw the design and construction of the Webster Apartments and left a significant portion of his assets to the non-profit too upon his death. 

Almost a century ago, when the Webster Apartments started its operations, there were over 50 women-focused residential facilities in New York City. At present, only nine such establishments are operational. In peak seasons, Webster Apartments has a waiting list.  

It is a 13-story building with over 370 private rooms for guests and communal areas all over the building where residents eat, relax, and unwind as well as get their work done. Communal areas encompass TV lounges, meeting rooms, halls with work stations and pianos, and a small library. Dining room, rooftop and garden are where interesting conversations happen. During lunch and dinner hours, these spaces light up with women from different races, ethnicities, and backgrounds meeting and befriending each other. 

A resident waits for the elevator in the lobby to get to her room. April 27, 2022. Photo by Quratulain Tejani

An empty hall lined with lounges and beau parlors on both sides. May 4, 2022. Photo by Quratulain Tejani

Residents use workstations in one of the communal areas. April 27, 2022. Photo by Quratulain Tejani

A guest takes a meeting while she relaxes in one of the mini TV lounges. April 27, 2022. Photo by Quratulain Tejani

Romy Augustnys from Belgium relaxes on the rooftop on a pleasant day. May 10, 2022. Photo by Quratulain Tejani

Julliana Loryn from Missouri switches her lamp off before leaving her room. May 1, 2022. Photo by Quratulain Tejani

A diverse group of residents enjoy their dinner in the dining hall. April 20, 2022. Photo by Quratulain Tejani

Tarini Wijesekera from Sri Lanka pours sauces on her food from the sauce station in the dining room. April 20, 2022. Photo by Quratulain Tejani

Sandra Donda from Spain checks notifications on her phone as she relaxes on a Sunday afternoon in the garden. May 1, 2022. Photo by Quratulain Tejani

Two residents busy working in one of the bigger TV lounges. April 27, 2022. Photo by Quratulain Tejani

The view of the city from one of the rooms on the twelfth floor. May 10, 2022. Photo by Quratulain Tejani