During the early national and antebellum eras, black leaders in New York City confronted the tenuous nature of Northern emancipation. Despite the hope of freedom, black New Yorkers faced a series of sociopolitical issues including the persistence of Southern slavery, the threat of forced removal, racial violence, and the denial of American citizenship. Even efforts to create community space within the urban landscape, such as the African Burial Ground and Seneca Village, were eventually demolished to make way for the city's rapid development. In this illuminating history, Leslie M. Alexander chronicles the growth and development of black activism in New York from the formation of the first black organization, the African Society, in 1784 to the eve of the Civil War in 1861. In this critical period, black activists sought to formulate an effective response to their unequal freedom. Examining black newspapers, speeches, and organizational records, this study documents the creation of mutual relief, religious, and political associations, which black men and women infused with African cultural traditions and values.
As Alexander reveals, conflicts over early black political strategy foreshadowed critical ideological struggles that would bedevil the black leadership for generations to come. Initially, black leaders advocated racial uplift through a sense of communalism and connection to their African heritage. Yet by the antebellum era, black activists struggled to reconcile their African identity with a growing desire to gain American citizenship. Ultimately, this battle resulted in competing agendas; while some leaders argued that the black community should dedicate themselves to moral improvement and American citizenship, others began to consider emigrating to Africa or Haiti. In the end, the black leadership resolved to assert an American identity and to expand their mission for full equality and citizenship in the United States. This decision marked a crucial turning point in black political strategy, for it signaled a new phase in the quest for racial advancement and fostered the creation of a nascent Black Nationalism.
In the 1960s Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood was labeled America’s largest ghetto. But its brownstones housed a coterie of black professionals intent on bringing order and hope to the community. In telling their story Michael Woodsworth reinterprets the War on Poverty by revealing its roots in local activism and policy experiments.
Understanding an infamous political movement's grounding in festivity and defiance
Beer and Revolution examines the rollicking life and times of German immigrant anarchists in New York City from 1880 to 1914. Offering a new approach to an often misunderstood political movement, Tom Goyens puts a human face on anarchism and reveals a dedication less to bombs than to beer halls and saloons where political meetings, public lectures, discussion circles, fundraising events, and theater groups were held.
Goyens brings to life the fascinating relationship between social space and politics by examining how the intersection of political ideals, entertainment, and social activism embodied anarchism not as an abstract idea, but as a chosen lifestyle for thousands of women and men. He shows how anarchist social gatherings were themselves events of defiance and resistance that aimed at establishing anarchism as an alternative lifestyle through the combination of German working-class conviviality and a dedication to the principle that coercive authority was not only unnecessary, but actually damaging to full and free human development as well. Goyens also explores the broader circumstances in both the United States and Germany that served as catalysts for the emergence of anarchism in urban America and how anarchist activism was hampered by police surveillance, ethnic insularity, and a widening gulf between the anarchists' message and the majority of American workers.
This easy-to-use guide gives seasonal information for both popular birding sites and those off the beaten path. Precise directions to the best viewing locations within the region’s diverse habitats enable birdwatchers to efficiently explore urban and wild birding hotspots. Over 500 species of birds can be seen in New York City’s five boroughs and on Long Island, one of the most densely populated and urbanized regions in North America, which also happens to be situated directly on the Atlantic Flyway. In this fragmented environment of scarce resources, birds concentrate on what’s available. This means that high numbers of birds are found in small spaces. In fact, Central Park alone attracts over 225 species of birds, which birders from around the world flock to see during spring and fall migration. Beyond Central Park, the five boroughs and Long Island have numerous wildlife refuges of extraordinary scenic beauty where resident and migratory birds inhabit forests, wetlands, grasslands, and beaches. These special places present an opportunity to see a wide array of songbirds, endangered nesting shorebirds, raptors, and an unprecedented number and variety of waterfowl. Including the latest information on the seasonal status and distribution of more than 400 species, with 39 maps and over 50 photographs, this full-color guide features information essential to planning a birding visit. It will become the go-to book for both the region’s longtime birders and those exploring the area for the first time.
An essential contribution to twentieth-century political history, Black Women and Politics in New York City documents African American women in New York City fighting for justice, civil rights, and equality in the turbulent world of formal politics from the suffrage and women's rights movements to the feminist era of the 1970s.
Historian and human rights activist Julie A. Gallagher deftly examines how race, gender, and the structure of the state itself shape outcomes, and exposes the layers of power and discrimination at work in American society. She combines her analysis with a look at the career of Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress and the first to run for president on a national party ticket. In so doing, she rewrites twentieth-century women's history and the dominant narrative arcs of feminist history that hitherto ignored African American women and their accomplishments.
Over the course of 130 years, Italian American Catholics in New York City have developed a varied repertoire of devotional art and architecture to create community-based sacred spaces in their homes and neighborhoods. These spaces exist outside of but in relationship to the consecrated halls of local parishes and are sites of worship in conventionally secular locations. Such ethnic building traditions and urban ethnic landscapes have long been neglected by all but a few scholars. Joseph Sciorra’s Built with Faith offers a place-centric, ethnographic study of the religious material culture of New York City’s Italian American Catholics.
Sciorra spent thirty-five years researching these community art forms and interviewing Italian immigrant and U.S.-born Catholics. By documenting the folklife of this group, Sciorra reveals how Italian Americans in the city use expressive culture and religious practices to transform everyday urban space into unique, communal sites of ethnically infused religiosity. The folk aesthetics practiced by individuals within their communities are integral to understanding how art is conceptualized, implemented, and esteemed outside of museum and gallery walls. Yard shrines, sidewalk altars, Nativity presepi, Christmas house displays, a stone-studded grotto, and neighborhood processions—often dismissed as kitsch or prized as folk art—all provide examples of the vibrant and varied ways contemporary Italian Americans use material culture, architecture, and public ceremonial display to shape the city’s religious and cultural landscapes.
Written in an accessible style that will appeal to general readers and scholars alike, Sciorra’s unique study contributes to our understanding of how value and meaning are reproduced at the confluences of everyday life.
Joseph Sciorra is the director of Academic and Cultural Programs at the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, Queens College. He is the editor of Italian Folk: Vernacular Culture in Italian-American Lives and co-editor of Embroidered Stories: Interpreting Women's Domestic Needlework from the Italian Diaspora.
Distant Islands is a modern narrative history of the Japanese American community in New York City between America's centennial year and the Great Depression of the 1930s. Often overshadowed in historical literature by the Japanese diaspora on the West Coast, this community, which dates back to the 1870s, has its own fascinating history.
The New York Japanese American community was a composite of several micro communities divided along status, class, geographic, and religious lines. Using a wealth of primary sources—oral histories, memoirs, newspapers, government documents, photographs, and more—Daniel H. Inouye tells the stories of the business and professional elites, mid-sized merchants, small business owners, working-class families, menial laborers, and students that made up these communities. The book presents new knowledge about the history of Japanese immigrants in the United States and makes a novel and persuasive argument about the primacy of class and status stratification and relatively weak ethnic cohesion and solidarity in New York City, compared to the pervading understanding of nikkei on the West Coast. While a few prior studies have identified social stratification in other nikkei communities, this book presents the first full exploration of the subject and additionally draws parallels to divisions in German American communities.
Distant Islands is a unique and nuanced historical account of an American ethnic community that reveals the common humanity of pioneering Japanese New Yorkers despite diverse socioeconomic backgrounds and life stories. It will be of interest to general readers, students, and scholars interested in Asian American studies, immigration and ethnic studies, sociology, and history.
Winner- Honorable Mention, 2018 Immigration and Ethnic History Society First Book Award
In 1919, the United States made its boldest attempt at social reform: Prohibition. This "noble experiment" was aggressively promoted, and spectacularly unsuccessful, in New York City. In the first major work on Prohibition in a quarter century, and the only full history of Prohibition in the era's most vibrant city, Lerner describes a battle between competing visions of the United States that encompassed much more than the freedom to drink.
Generations of immigrants have relied on small family businesses in their pursuit of the American dream. This entrepreneurial tradition remains highly visible among Korean immigrants in New York City, who have carved out a thriving business niche for themselves operating many of the city's small grocery stores and produce markets. But this success has come at a price, leading to dramatic, highly publicized conflicts between Koreans and other ethnic groups. In Ethnic Solidarity for Economic Survival, Pyong Gap Min takes Korean produce retailers as a case study to explore how involvement in ethnic businesses—especially where it collides with the economic interests of other ethnic groups—powerfully shapes the social, cultural, and economic unity of immigrant groups. Korean produce merchants, caught between white distributors, black customers, Hispanic employees, and assertive labor unions, provide a unique opportunity to study the formation of group solidarity in the face of inter-group conflicts. Ethnic Solidarity for Economic Survival draws on census and survey data, interviews with community leaders and merchants, and a review of ethnic newspaper articles to trace the growth and evolution of Korean collective action in response to challenges produce merchants received from both white suppliers and black customers. When Korean produce merchants first attempted to gain a foothold in the city's economy, they encountered pervasive discrimination from white wholesale suppliers at Hunts Point Market in the Bronx. In response, Korean merchants formed the Korean Produce Association (KPA), a business organization that gradually evolved into a powerful engine for promoting Korean interests. The KPA used boycotts, pickets, and group purchasing to effect enduring improvements in supplier-merchant relations. Pyong Gap Min returns to the racially charged events surrounding black boycotts of Korean stores in the 1990s, which were fueled by frustration among African Americans at a perceived economic invasion of their neighborhoods. The Korean community responded with rallies, political negotiations, and publicity campaigns of their own. The disappearance of such disputes in recent years has been accompanied by a corresponding reduction in Korean collective action, suggesting that ethnic unity is not inevitable but rather emerges, often as a form of self-defense, under certain contentious conditions. Solidarity, Min argues, is situational. This important new book charts a novel course in immigrant research by demonstrating how business conflicts can give rise to demonstrations of group solidarity. Ethnic Solidarity for Economic Survival is at once a sophisticated empirical analysis and a riveting collection of stories—about immigration, race, work, and the American dream.
At first glance, evangelical and Gotham seem like an odd pair. What does a movement of pious converts and reformers have to do with a city notoriously full of temptation and sin? More than you might think, says Kyle B. Roberts, who argues that religion must be considered alongside immigration, commerce, and real estate scarcity as one of the forces that shaped the New York City we know today.
In Evangelical Gotham, Roberts explores the role of the urban evangelical community in the development of New York between the American Revolution and the Civil War. As developers prepared to open new neighborhoods uptown, evangelicals stood ready to build meetinghouses. As the city’s financial center emerged and solidified, evangelicals capitalized on the resultant wealth, technology, and resources to expand their missionary and benevolent causes. When they began to feel that the city’s morals had degenerated, evangelicals turned to temperance, Sunday school, prayer meetings, antislavery causes, and urban missions to reform their neighbors. The result of these efforts was Evangelical Gotham—a complicated and contradictory world whose influence spread far beyond the shores of Manhattan.
Winner of the 2015 Dixon Ryan Fox Manuscript Prize from the New York State Historical Association
Where did all the Germans go? How does a community of several hundred thousand people become invisible within a generation?
This study examines these questions in relation to the German immigrant community in New York City between 1880-1930, and seeks to understand how German-American New Yorkers assimilated into the larger American society in the early twentieth century.
By the turn of the twentieth century, New York City was one of the largest German-speaking cities in the world and was home to the largest German community in the United States. This community was socio-economically diverse and increasingly geographically dispersed, as upwardly mobile second and third generation German Americans began moving out of the Lower East Side, the location of America’s first Kleindeutschland (Little Germany), uptown to Yorkville and other neighborhoods. New York’s German American community was already in transition, geographically, socio-economically, and culturally, when the anti-German/One Hundred Percent Americanism of World War I erupted in 1917.
This book examines the structure of New York City’s German community in terms of its maturity, geographic dispersal from the Lower East Side to other neighborhoods, and its ultimate assimilation to the point of invisibility in the 1920s. It argues that when confronted with the anti-German feelings of World War I, German immigrants and German Americans hid their culture – especially their language and their institutions – behind closed doors and sought to make themselves invisible while still existing as a German community.
But becoming invisible did not mean being absorbed into an Anglo-American English-speaking culture and society. Instead, German Americans adopted visible behaviors of a new, more pluralistic American culture that they themselves had helped to create, although by no means dominated. Just as the meaning of “German” changed in this period, so did the meaning of “American” change as well, due to nearly 100 years of German immigration.
Traces the development of the sanitary and health problems of New York City from earliest Dutch times to the culmination of a nineteenth-century reform movement that produced the Metropolitan Health Act of 1866, the forerunner of the present New York City Department of Health. Professor Duffy shows the city's transition from a clean and healthy colonial settlement to an epidemic-ridden community in the eighteenth century, as the city outgrew its health and sanitation facilities. He describes the slow growth of a demand for adequate health laws in the mid-nineteenth century, leading to the establishment of the first permanent health agency in 1866.
An 1865 report on public health in New York painted a grim picture of "high brick blocks and closely-packed houses . . . literally hives of sickness" propagating epidemics of cholera, smallpox, typhoid, typhus, and yellow fever, which swept through the whole city. In this stimulating collection of essays, nine historians of American medicine explore New York's responses to its public health crises from colonial times to the present. The essays illustrate the relationship between the disease environment of New York and changes in housing, population, social conditions, and the success of medical science, linking such factors to New York's experiences with smallpox, polio, and AIDS.
The volume is essential reading for anyone interested in American public health and the social history of New York.
The contributors are Ronald Bayer, Elizabeth Blackmar, Gretchen A. Condran, Elizabeth Fee, Daniel M. Fox, Evelynn M. Hammonds, Alan M. Kraut, Judith Walzer Leavitt, and Naomi Rogers. David Rosner is a professor of history at Baruch College and The Graduate School of the City University of New York. Robert R. Macdonald is the director of the Museum of the City of New York.
A publication of the Museum of the City of New York
Choice Reviews 1995 November
This is one of a series of books focusing on the impact of disease intended to enhance the understanding of both past and present regarding reactions to periodic epidemics. Robert B. Macdonald, director of the Museum of the City of New York, which supports this series, states: "The individual and collective responses to widespread sickness are mirrors to the cultural, religious, economic, political, and social histories of cities and nations." Rosner selected eight renowned and respected individuals to describe the reactions and responses to smallpox, polio, and AIDS epidemics in New York City since 1860, and the efforts of officials and professionals to deal with the impact of disease. Essayists present disease broadly from economic, social, political, and health perspectives. Causes of epidemics include the expected and usual: thousands of immigrants pouring into the city, inadequate water and food supplies, lack of sewage disposal, unemployment leading to poverty. An unexpected cause was the avarice of real estate investors, inexorably driving up housing costs.
Highly recommended for all students of history, public health, health policy, and sociology. Upper-division undergraduate through professional. Copyright 1999 American Library Association
"The black experience in the antebellum South has been thoroughly documented. But histories set in the North are few. In the Shadow of Slavery, then, is a big and ambitious book, one in which insights about race and class in New York City abound. Leslie Harris has masterfully brought more than two centuries of African American history back to life in this illuminating new work."—David Roediger, author of The Wages of Whiteness
In 1991 in lower Manhattan, a team of construction workers made an astonishing discovery. Just two blocks from City Hall, under twenty feet of asphalt, concrete, and rubble, lay the remains of an eighteenth-century "Negro Burial Ground." Closed in 1790 and covered over by roads and buildings throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the site turned out to be the largest such find in North America, containing the remains of as many as 20,000 African Americans. The graves revealed to New Yorkers and the nation an aspect of American history long hidden: the vast number of enslaved blacks who labored to create our nation's largest city.
In the Shadow of Slavery lays bare this history of African Americans in New York City, starting with the arrival of the first slaves in 1626, moving through the turbulent years before emancipation in 1827, and culminating in one of the most terrifying displays of racism in U.S. history, the New York City Draft Riots of 1863. Drawing on extensive travel accounts, autobiographies, newspapers, literature, and organizational records, Leslie M. Harris extends beyond prior studies of racial discrimination by tracing the undeniable impact of African Americans on class, politics, and community formation and by offering vivid portraits of the lives and aspirations of countless black New Yorkers.
Written with clarity and grace, In the Shadow of Slavery is an ambitious new work that will prove indispensable to historians of the African American experience, as well as anyone interested in the history of New York City.
Looking at the historic Italian American community of East Harlem in the 1920s and 30s, Simone Cinotto recreates the bustling world of Italian life in New York City and demonstrates how food was at the center of the lives of immigrants and their children. From generational conflicts resolved around the family table to a vibrant food-based economy of ethnic producers, importers, and restaurateurs, food was essential to the creation of an Italian American identity. Italian American foods offered not only sustenance but also powerful narratives of community and difference, tradition and innovation as immigrants made their way through a city divided by class conflict, ethnic hostility, and racialized inequalities.
Drawing on a vast array of resources including fascinating, rarely explored primary documents and fresh approaches in the study of consumer culture, Cinotto argues that Italian immigrants created a distinctive culture of food as a symbolic response to the needs of immigrant life, from the struggle for personal and group identity to the pursuit of social and economic power. Adding a transnational dimension to the study of Italian American foodways, Cinotto recasts Italian American food culture as an American "invention" resonant with traces of tradition.
New York City stands as the first expression of the modern city, a mosaic of disparate neighborhoods born in 1898 with the amalgamation of the five boroughs and shaped by the passions of developers and regulators, architects and engineers, politicians and reformers, immigrant entrepreneurs and corporate builders. Through their labor, their ideals, and their often fierce battles, the physical and social dimensions—the landscape—of the modern city were forged. The original essays in The Landscape of Modernity tell the compelling story of the growth of New York City from 1900 to 1940, from the beginnings of its skyscraper skyline to the expanding reaches of suburbanization. At the beginning of the century, New York City was already one of the world's leading corporate and commercial centers. The Zoning Ordinance of 1916, initially proposed by Fifth Avenue merchants as a means of halting the uptown spread of the garment industry, became the nation's first comprehensive zoning law and the proving ground for a new occupation—the urban planner. During the 1920s, frenzied development created a vertical metamorphosis in Manhattan's booming business district, culminating in its most spectacularly modern icon, the Empire State Building. The city also spread laterally, with the controversial development of subway systems and the creation of the powerful Port of New York Authority, whose new bridges and tunnels decentralized the population and industry of New York. New York's older ethnic enclaves were irrevocably altered by this new urban landscape: the Lower East Side's Jewish community was nearly dismantled by the flight of the garment industry and the attractiveness of new suburbs, while Little Italy fought government forces eager to homogenize commercial use of the streets by eliminating the traditional pushcart peddlers. Illustrated with striking photographs and maps, The Landscape of Modernity links important scenes of growth and development to the larger political, economic, social, and cultural processes of the early twentieth century.
In a declaration of the ascendance of the American media industry, nineteenth-century press barons in New York City helped to invent the skyscraper, a quintessentially American icon of progress and aspiration. Early newspaper buildings in the country's media capital were designed to communicate both commercial and civic ideals, provide public space and prescribe discourse, and speak to class and mass in equal measure. This book illustrates how the media have continued to use the city as a space in which to inscribe and assert their power.
With a unique focus on corporate headquarters as embodiments of the values of the press and as signposts for understanding media culture, Media Capital demonstrates the mutually supporting relationship between the media and urban space. Aurora Wallace considers how architecture contributed to the power of the press, the nature of the reading public, the commercialization of media, and corporate branding in the media industry. Tracing the rise and concentration of the media industry in New York City from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, Wallace analyzes physical and discursive space, as well as labor, technology, and aesthetics, to understand the entwined development of the mass media and late capitalism.
A Mexican State of Mind: New York City and the New Borderlands of Culture explores the cultural and creative lives of the largely young undocumented Mexican population in New York City since September 11, 2001. Inspired by a dialogue between the landmark works of Paul Gilroy and Gloria Anzaldúa, it develops a new analytic framework, the Atlantic Borderlands, which bridges Mexican diasporic experiences in New York City and the black diaspora, not as a comparison but in recognition that colonialism, interracial and interethnic contact through trade, migration, and slavery are connected via capitalist economies and technological developments. This book is based on ten years of fieldwork in New York City, with members of a vibrant community of young Mexican migrants who coexist and interact with people from all over the world. It focuses on youth culture including hip hop, graffiti, muralism, labor activism, arts entrepreneurship and collective making.
In February 1999 the tragic New York City police shooting of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed street vendor from Guinea, brought into focus the existence of West African merchants in urban America. In Money Has No Smell, Paul Stoller offers us a more complete portrait of the complex lives of West African immigrants like Diallo, a portrait based on years of research Stoller conducted on the streets of New York City during the 1990s.
Blending fascinating ethnographic description with incisive social analysis, Stoller shows how these savvy West African entrepreneurs have built cohesive and effective multinational trading networks, in part through selling a simulated Africa to African Americans. These and other networks set up by the traders, along with their faith as devout Muslims, help them cope with the formidable state regulations and personal challenges they face in America. As Stoller demonstrates, the stories of these West African traders illustrate and illuminate ongoing debates about globalization, the informal economy, and the changing nature of American communities.
The world of Argentine tango presents a glamorous façade of music and movement. Yet the immigrant artists whose livelihoods depend on the US tango industry receive little attention beyond their enigmatic public personas. More Than Two to Tango offers a detailed portrait of Argentine immigrants for whom tango is both an art form and a means of survival.
Based on a highly visible group of performers within the almost hidden population of Argentines in the United States, More than Two to Tango addresses broader questions on the understudied role of informal webs in the entertainment field. Through the voices of both early generations of immigrants and the latest wave of newcomers, Anahí Viladrich explores how the dancers, musicians, and singers utilize their complex social networks to survive as artists and immigrants. She reveals a diverse community navigating issues of identity, class, and race as they struggle with practical concerns, such as the high cost of living in New York City and affordable health care.
Argentina’s social history serves as the compelling backdrop for understanding the trajectory of tango performers, and Viladrich uses these foundations to explore their current unified front to keep tango as their own “authentic” expression. Yet social ties are no panacea for struggling immigrants. Even as More Than Two to Tango offers the notion that each person is truly conceived and transformed by their journeys around the globe, it challenges rosy portraits of Argentine tango artists by uncovering how their glamorous representations veil their difficulties to make ends meet in the global entertainment industry. In the end, the portrait of Argentine tango performers’ diverse career paths contributes to our larger understanding of who may attain the “American Dream,” and redefines what that means for tango artists.
Mandated by the Affordable Care Act, public health demonstration projects have been touted as an innovative solution to the nation’s health care crisis. Yet, such projects actually have a long but little-known history, dating back to the 1920s. This groundbreaking new book reveals the key role that these local health programs—and the nurses who ran them—influenced how Americans perceived both their personal health choices and the well-being of their communities.
Nursing with a Message transports readers to New York City in the 1920s and 1930s, charting the rise and fall of two community health centers, in the neighborhoods of East Harlem and Bellevue-Yorkville. Award-winning historian Patricia D’Antonio examines the day-to-day operations of these clinics, as well as the community outreach work done by nurses who visited schools, churches, and homes encouraging neighborhood residents to adopt healthier lifestyles, engage with preventive physical exams, and see to the health of their preschool children. As she reveals, these programs relied upon an often-contentious and fragile alliance between various healthcare providers, educators, social workers, and funding agencies, both public and private. Assessing both the successes and failures of these public health demonstration projects, D’Antonio also traces their legacy in shaping both the best and worst elements of today’s primary care system.
Though New York’s Lower East Side today is home to high-end condos and hip restaurants, it was for decades an infamous site of blight, open-air drug dealing, and class conflict—an emblematic example of the tattered state of 1970s and ’80s Manhattan.
Those decades of strife, however, also gave the Lower East Side something unusual: a radical movement that blended urban homesteading and European-style squatting in a way never before seen in the United States. Ours to Lose tells the oral history of that movement through a close look at a diverse group of Lower East Side squatters who occupied abandoned city-owned buildings in the 1980s, fought to keep them for decades, and eventually began a long, complicated process to turn their illegal occupancy into legal cooperative ownership. Amy Starecheski here not only tells a little-known New York story, she also shows how property shapes our sense of ourselves as social beings and explores the ethics of homeownership and debt in post-recession America.
With a population and budget exceeding that of many nations, a central position in the world's cultural and corporate networks, and enormous concentrations off wealth and poverty, New York City intensifies interactions among social forces that elsewhere may be hidden or safely separated. The essays in Power, Culture, and Place represent the first comprehensive program of research on this city in a quarter century. Focusing on three historical transformations—the mercantile, industrial, and postindustrial—several contributors explore economic growth and change and the social conflicts that accompanied them. Other papers suggest how popular culture, public space, and street life served as sources of order amidst conflict and disorder. Essays on politics and pluralism offer further reflections on how social tensions are harnessed in the framework of political participation. By examining the intersection of economics, culture, and politics in a shared spatial context, these multidisciplinary essays not only illuminate the City's fascinating and complex development, but also highlight the significance of a sense of "place" for social research. It has been said that cities gave birth to the social sciences, exemplifying and propagating dramatic social changes and proving ideal laboratories for the study of social patterns and their evolution. As John Mollenkopf and his colleagues argue, New York City remains the quintessential case in point.
Accounts of Jewish immigrants usually describe the role of education in helping youngsters earn a higher social position than their parents. Melissa F. Weiner argues that New York City schools did not serve as pathways to mobility for Jewish or African American students. Instead, at different points in the city's history, politicians and administrators erected similar racial barriers to social advancement by marginalizing and denying resources that other students enjoyed. Power, Protest, and the Public Schools explores how activists, particularly parents and children, responded to inequality; the short-term effects of their involvement; and the long-term benefits that would spearhead future activism. Weiner concludes by considering how today's Hispanic and Arab children face similar inequalities within public schools.
The Progressives and the Slums chronicles the reform of tenement housing, where some of the worst living conditions in the world existed. Roy Lubove focuses his study on New York City, detailing the methods, accomplishments, and limitations of housing reform at the turn of the twentieth century. The book is based in part on personal interviews with, and the unpublished writings of Lawrence Veiller, the dominant figure in housing reform between 1898 and 1920. Lubove views Veiller's role, surveys developments prior to 1890, and views housing reform within the broader context of progressive-era protest and reform.
New York City's identity as a cultural and artistic center, as a point of arrival for millions of immigrants sympathetic to anarchist ideas, and as a hub of capitalism made the city a unique and dynamic terrain for anarchist activity. For 150 years, Gotham's cosmopolitan setting created a unique interplay between anarchism's human actors and an urban space that invites constant reinvention. Tom Goyens gathers essays that demonstrate anarchism's endurance as a political and cultural ideology and movement in New York from the 1870s to 2011. The authors cover the gamut of anarchy's emergence in and connection to the city. Some offer important new insights on German, Yiddish, Italian, and Spanish-speaking anarchists. Others explore anarchism's influence on religion, politics, and the visual and performing arts. A concluding essay looks at Occupy Wall Street's roots in New York City's anarchist tradition. Contributors: Allan Antliff, Marcella Bencivenni, Caitlin Casey, Christopher J. Castañeda, Andrew Cornell, Heather Gautney, Tom Goyens, Anne Klejment, Alan W. Moore, Erin Wallace, and Kenyon Zimmer.
Too often grouped together, the black radicalism movement has a history wholly separate from the international communist movement of the early twentieth century. In Red International and Black Caribbean Margaret Stevens sets out to correct this enduring misconception. Focusing on the period 1919-39, Stevens explores the political roots of a dozen Communist organizations and parties that were headquartered in New York City, Mexico, and the Caribbean. She describes the inner workings of the Red International—the revolutionary global political network established under the Communist International—in relation to struggles against racial and colonial oppression. In doing so, she also highlights how the significant victories and setbacks of black people fighting against racial oppression developed within the context of the global Communist movement.
Challenging dominant accounts, Red International and Black Caribbean debunks the “great men” narrative, emphasizes the role of women in their capacity as laborers, and paints the true struggles of black peasants and workers in Communist parties.
When Daniel Boone heard a neighbor's dog bark, he moved West. But when there's no Wild West left, where is adventure to be found? Michael Aaron Rockland looks for adventure in the megalopolis, "not where no one has been but where no one wishes to go . . . across traffic-clogged cities, the parking lots of wall-to-wall suburban malls, and the sinister waterways that seep through rusting industrial sites."
In these ten alternately poetic and comic tales of adventure in the New York/Philadelphia corridor, the most densely populated chunk of America, Rockland walks and bikes areas meant only for cars and paddles through waters capable of dissolving canoes. He hikes the length of New York's Broadway, camps in New York City, treks across Philadelphia, pedals among the tractor trailers of Route 1 in New Jersey, and paddles around Manhattan and through the dark tunnels under Trenton.
Whereas Henry David Thoreau built his cabin on Walden Pond to get out of town, for Rockland, the challenge is to head into town. As he writes, "in the late twentieth century, a weed and trash-filled city lot . . . may be a better place than the wilderness to contemplate one's relationship to nature."
Written from the perspective of salsa musicians,this ethnographic journey into New York salsa of the 1990s, this pioneering study examines how musicians navigated their everyday lives, grappling with the intercultural tensions and commercial pressures that were so pronounced on the salsa scene. Author Chris Washburne examines the organizational structures, recording processes, rehearsing, and gigging of salsa bands, paying particular attention to how bands created a sense of community, privileged "the people" over artistic and commercial concerns, and incited cultural pride during performance events. He considers how violence, the illicit drug trade, and issues of gender informed sound structure, salsa aesthetics, and performance practice. He concludes the book with a discussion of salsa style in the 1990s, emphasizing how certain structural principles involved in music making (e.g., clave) and the intercultural dynamics of Puerto Rico and New York informed performance practice.
Through every era of American history, New York City has been a battleground for international espionage, where secrets are created, stolen, and passed through clandestine meetings and covert communications. Some spies do their work and escape, while others are compromised, imprisoned, and--a few--executed. Spy Sites of New York City takes you inside this shadowy world and reveals the places where it all happened.
In 233 main entries as well as listings for scores more spy sites, H. Keith Melton and Robert Wallace weave incredible true stories of derring-do and double-crosses that put even the best spy fiction to shame. The cases and sites follow espionage history from the Revolutionary War and Civil War, to the rise of communism and fascism in the twentieth century, to Russian sleeper agents in the twenty-first century. The spy sites are not only in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx but also on Long Island and in New Jersey. Maps and 380 photographs allow readers to follow in the footsteps of spies and spy-hunters to explore the city, tradecraft, and operations that influenced wars hot and cold. Informing and entertaining, Spy Sites of New York City is a must-have guidebook to the espionage history of the Big Apple.
Stepping Left simultaneously unveils the radical roots of modern dance and recalls the excitement and energy of New York City in the 1930s. Ellen Graff explores the relationship between the modern dance movement and leftist political activism in this period, describing the moment in American dance history when the revolutionary fervor of "dancing modern" was joined with the revolutionary vision promised by the Soviet Union. This account reveals the major contribution of Communist and left-wing politics to modern dance during its formative years in New York City. From Communist Party pageants to union hall performances to benefits for the Spanish Civil War, Graff documents the passionate involvement of American dancers in the political and social controversies that raged throughout the Depression era. Dancers formed collectives and experimented with collaborative methods of composition at the same time that they were marching in May Day parades, demonstrating for workers’ rights, and protesting the rise of fascism in Europe. Graff records the explosion of choreographic activity that accompanied this lively period—when modern dance was trying to establish legitimacy and its own audience. Stepping Left restores a missing legacy to the history of American dance, a vibrant moment that was supressed in the McCarthy era and almost lost to memory. Revisiting debates among writers and dancers about the place of political content and ethnicity in new dance forms, Stepping Left is a landmark work of dance history.
The Garifuna are a Central American, Afro-Indigenous people descended from shipwrecked West Africans and local Indigenous groups on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent. For over two centuries, the Garifuna have experienced oppression, exile, and continued diaspora that has stretched their communities to Honduras, Belize, and beyond. However, little has been written about the experiences of the Garifuna in Nicaragua, a community of about 5,000 who live primarily on the Caribbean coast of the country.
In Surviving the Americas, Serena Cosgrove, José Idiáquez, Leonard Joseph Bent, and Andrew Gorvetzian shed light on what it means to be Garifuna today, particularly in Nicaragua. Their research includes over nine months of fieldwork in Garifuna communities in the Pearl Lagoon on the southern Caribbean coast of Nicaragua and in New York City. The resulting ethnography illustrates the unique social issues of the Nicaraguan Garifuna and how their culture, traditions, and reverence for their ancestors continues to persist.
Stick ball, stoop sitting, pickle barrel colloquys: The neighborhood occupies a warm place in our cultural memory—a place that Kenneth A. Scherzer contends may have more to do with ideology and nostalgia than with historical accuracy. In this remarkably detailed analysis of neighborhood life in New York City between 1830 and 1875, Scherzer gives the neighborhood its due as a complex, richly textured social phenomenon and helps to clarify its role in the evolution of cities. After a critical examination of recent historical renderings of neighborhood life, Scherzer focuses on the ecological, symbolic, and social aspects of nineteenth-century community life in New York City. Employing a wide array of sources, from census reports and church records to police blotters and brothel guides, he documents the complex composition of neighborhoods that defy simple categorization by class or ethnicity. From his account, the New York City neighborhood emerges as a community in flux, born out of the chaos of May Day, the traditional moving day. The fluid geography and heterogeneity of these neighborhoods kept most city residents from developing strong local attachments. Scherzer shows how such weak spatial consciousness, along with the fast pace of residential change, diminished the community function of the neighborhood. New Yorkers, he suggests, relied instead upon the "unbounded community," a collection of friends and social relations that extended throughout the city. With pointed argument and weighty evidence, The Unbounded Community replaces the neighborhood of nostalgia with a broader, multifaceted conception of community life. Depicting the neighborhood in its full scope and diversity, the book will enhance future forays into urban history.
On a sweltering June evening in 1937, American Juliet Stuart Poyntz left her boardinghouse in Manhattan and walked toward Central Park, three short blocks away. She was never seen or heard from again. Seven months passed before a formal missing person's report was made, since Poyntz worked for the Soviet Secret Police and her friends (many of whom were anti-Stalinist radicals in the United States) were scared to alert authorities. Her disappearance coincided with Josef Stalin's purges of his political enemies in the Soviet Union and it was feared that Poyntz was a casualty of Soviet brutality.
In Where Is Juliet Stuart Poyntz?, Denise M. Lynn argues that Poyntz's sudden disappearance was the final straw for many on the American political left, who then abandoned Marxism and began to embrace anti-communism. In the years to follow, the left crafted narratives of her disappearance that became central to the Cold War. While scholars have thoroughly analyzed the influence of the political right in the anti-communism of this era, this captivating and compelling study is unique in exploring the influence of the political left.
America’s public parks are in a golden age. Hundreds of millions of dollars—both public and private—fund urban jewels like Manhattan’s Central Park. Keeping the polish on landmark parks and in neighborhood playgrounds alike means that the trash must be picked up, benches painted, equipment tested, and leaves raked. Bringing this often-invisible work into view, however, raises profound questions for citizens of cities.
In Who Cleans the Park? John Krinsky and Maud Simonet explain that the work of maintaining parks has intersected with broader trends in welfare reform, civic engagement, criminal justice, and the rise of public-private partnerships. Welfare-to-work trainees, volunteers, unionized city workers (sometimes working outside their official job descriptions), staff of nonprofit park “conservancies,” and people sentenced to community service are just a few of the groups who routinely maintain parks. With public services no longer being provided primarily by public workers, Krinsky and Simonet argue, the nature of public work must be reevaluated. Based on four years of fieldwork in New York City, Who Cleans the Park? looks at the transformation of public parks from the ground up. Beginning with studying changes in the workplace, progressing through the public-private partnerships that help maintain the parks, and culminating in an investigation of a park’s contribution to urban real-estate values, the book unearths a new urban order based on nonprofit partnerships and a rhetoric of responsible citizenship, which at the same time promotes unpaid work, reinforces workers’ domination at the workplace, and increases the value of park-side property. Who Cleans the Park? asks difficult questions about who benefits from public work, ultimately forcing us to think anew about the way we govern ourselves, with implications well beyond the five boroughs.