How East New York Became A Ghetto

The Village Voice reviews a book by a longtime city planner who writes on the decline and possible resurgence of east New York.
August 24, 2003, 7am PDT | Connie Chung
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"Walter Thabit, a longtime city planner who had a ringside seat to the engineered decimation of East New York (for it was nothing less) that began in the late '60s and who had a role in early attempts to stem the decay, chooses words and villains carefully in his analytical _How East New York Became a Ghetto_....Thabit, whose planning firm was contracted by then mayor John Lindsay to help design a revitalization plan for East New York after rioting broke out in 1966, is in a uniquely informed position to detail the myriad causes that contributed to the destruction of the neighborhood and the continued neglect of the following decades. And though he may not place enough of an emphasis on personal responsibility, preferring instead to focus blame on social forces for the existence of the criminals and pushers who contributed to the neighborhood's despair, he does a fine job of putting into context all of the other challenges that faced the area's new black and Puerto Rican residents—problems their white predecessors did not face and, by leaving and taking much of the local economic engine with them, helped to cause."

Thanks to Connie Chung

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Published on Thursday, August 21, 2003 in The Village Voice

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