The Isaacs Center opened in 1964 and was named in honor of Stanley M. Isaacs, whose historic career in municipal government started at age 55.
Considered one of the most effective members of City Government, Isaacs was known for his “missionary zeal” and high standards. A Liberal Republican with a reputation as a fighter for civil rights and decent housing for low-income families, his best known piece of legislation was the Sharkey-Brown-Isaacs Bill of 1957, which barred racial discrimination in private housing. Isaacs was elected Manhattan Borough President, an office he held from 1937-1942. One of his main achievements as in this role was convincing city planners to build East River Drive to prevent major traffic jams, rehabilitate rundown waterfront properties, and save millions of dollars in land purchases. Isaacs then served as the minority leader of the New York City Council from 1942 to 1962, until his death at the age of 79.