The first building of Manhattan’s Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village residential complex opened in 1947. The buildings became so attractive to new families that the development was nicknamed “Rabbit Town” (from the expression “multiply like rabbits").
It’s not known when “Rabbit Town” was first used, but it was first cited in the New York (NY) Times in 1983. However, residents held on to the apartments and the ‘Rabbit Town” nickname was short-lived. A 2013 book noted:
“Four out of every ten residents of Rabbit Town were now fifty-five and older; the baby boom had petered out.”
Wikipedia: Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village
Stuyvesant Town–Peter Cooper Village is a large, post-World War II private residential development, on the east side of the New York City borough of Manhattan. Stuyvesant Town, known to its residents as “Stuy Town”, was named after Peter Stuyvesant, the last director-general of the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, whose farm occupied the site in the 17th century. Peter Cooper Village is named after the 19th century industrialist, inventor and philanthropist Peter Cooper, who founded Cooper Union. The complex, which was planned beginning in 1942 and opened its first building in 1947, replaced the Gas House district of gas storage tanks.
24 January 1983, New York (NY) Times, “New York Day by Day” by Laurie Johnston and Deirdre Carmody, pg. B3:
Murray Lehrer remembers pink or blue ribbons on lobby mailboxes in Stuyvesant Town. It was the post-World War II baby boom, when young couples flocked to the new 8,732-apartment complex in the former Gashouse District, just above 14th Street from First Avenue to the East River Drive. Mr. Lehrer is the last of its 13 original mail carriers.
‘’Rabbit Town, it was called,’’ he said yesterday with a fond chuckle -as much for the memory of all those children as for the surprise party that 70 residents gave him Saturday at 270 First Avenue, one of the six buildings he served. He is retiring next Saturday after 39 years in postal service, 35 at Stuyvesant Town. From 5 to 10 percent of his original patrons are still on his route.
The Rise and Fall of Urban Renewal in Cold War New York
By Samuel Zipp
New York, NY: Oxford University Press
Some even called it “Rabbit Town” for the exuberance with which Stuyvesant Towners procreated.
Other People’s Money:
Inside the Housing Crisis and the Demise of the Greatest Real Estate Deal Ever Made
By Charles V. Bagli
New York, NY: Dutton
Four out of every ten residents of Rabbit Town were now fifty-five and older; the baby boom had petered out.
6 May 2013, Chicago (IL) Tribune, “Biggest real-estate deal turns into bust,” pg. 6:
In 2009, Fitch Ratings valued the 80-acre Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village apartment complex in Manhattan at $1.8 billion. But it had been sold three years earlier for $5.4 billion.
Enticed in part by a 25-year tax break and 12 acres contributed by the city, Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. built the complex. By 1950, three years after the first tenants moved in, there were 6,000 children younger than 5 living at Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village—a fifth of the residents. For a while, the people who lived there referred to their neighborhood as Rabbit Town.
New York (NY) Times
At Stuyvesant Town, a Child’s Utopia
By JOHN LELAND MAY 20, 2016
Seven decades ago, a New York mayor looked at his city and realized that it needed more affordable housing, and lots of it. Sound familiar? That mayor was Fiorello H. La Guardia, and his response — the sprawling Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village development in Manhattan — dwarfs anything being planned today.
For the 25,000 New Yorkers who called it home, the 80-acre campus was a refuge from the noise and congestion of the city. The red brick complexes, with their family-size apartments, earned the nickname Rabbit Town, for the number of children they produced.