Bruce J. Gould ’53
May 8, 2012
Bruce J. Gould ’53 was a New York City housing judge who played an instrumental role in helping secure safe, affordable housing for New Yorkers and who led innovative initiatives to bring computer technology to building code enforcement. He passed away on May 8, 2012, at the age of 83.
Born in Brooklyn and raised in the Highbridge neighborhood of the Bronx, Gould earned a B.A. in philosophy from Washington & Jefferson College in 1949 and graduated from Columbia Law School in 1953. After completing military service in France, Gould returned home and practiced at the New York City law firm Socolow, Stein & Seton.
Gould married Karolyn Richman after his military service, and the couple became active in local politics and tenant-landlord relations on the East Side of Manhattan. He began representing people facing evictions and went on to successfully represent clients fighting for improved sanitation and services in crumbling Harlem apartment buildings. These victories, Gould would say later, helped secure important reforms in housing law and code enforcement.
Gould began working in the New York City government in 1966, serving for decades in several capacities related to housing issues, including as executive director of the housing court coordination office at the department of Housing Preservation and Development. During his time in city government, he played a critical role in numerous initiatives, including the development and drafting of landlord tenant laws at the city council and the state legislature levels.
Gould also played an instrumental role in improving housing judges’ access to code enforcement laws by leading a drive to install computers at their benches. He led the initiative in the mid-1970s while working at the Community Service Society of New York, a private social services organization and became a direct beneficiary of the drive when he was sworn in as a housing judge with the Civil Court of the City of New York in 1987. Gould served on the bench for a decade before retiring in 1997.
Gould was preceded in death by Karolyn, his wife of 53 years, who passed away in 2011. He is survived by his children, Sarah, Thomas, Roger, and Melinda; his brother, Arnold; and nine grandchildren.