As old industrial waterfronts throughout the five boroughs undergo a dramatic transformation, Kimmelman spotlights an area of "special priority" to the Bloomberg administration that has flowed beneath the radar.
Here, along the south end of the Bronx River, "a patchwork of green spaces has been taking shape, the consequence of decades of grinding, grass-roots, community-driven efforts. For the environmentalists, educators, politicians, architects and landscape designers involved, the idea has not just been to revitalize a befouled waterway and create new public spaces. It has been to invest Bronx residents, for generations alienated from the water, in the beauty and upkeep of their local river."
For Kimmelman, the jumble of projects, which aim to add up to the long-term recovery of a great waterway and its neighborhoods, "illustrates how government, although it can be obstructionist and infuriating, is also indispensable to urban improvement."
"What's emerging in the Bronx is past and future. A new, more equitable vision for the city in the 21st century. And a river returned, at least partly, to its former glory."