Wednesday, September 28, 2005

South of the Cross Bronx Expressway

New York's Department of Housing Preservation and Development may have been competing for the Potemkin Prize last summer [1983], when it announced a plan to mount decals in the broken windows and empty frames of all the hundreds of burnt-out and sealed-up buildings that line the Cross Bronx Expressway. The decals would portray neat drapery, flowerpots, and window boxes, intimations of comfortable and happy domestic scenes. That way, commuters who passed through the Bronx en route to Westchester, Long Island, or the Connecticut executive belt wouldn't have to be upset by the sight of the misery that lines their way.
Marshall Berman. "Roots, Ruins, Renewals: City Life After Urbicide," Village Voice, September 4, 1984

Potemkin was a Russian statesman who had an impressive, fake village built along the river bank in preparation for a tour by Catherine the Great. The village consisted of just the facades of houses which were removed after she passed by and then reassembled further down river. Thus as Catherine traveled by, she would see many pleasant villages with happy peasants and think all was well in her kingdom.
Mel Rosenthal


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Audio files

check out these:

many of studs terkel's interviews are archived here -
especially -
Division Street: America is Studs Terkel’s look at twentieth century urban life in and around Chicago. He included interviews with immigrants from other lands, like George Drossos from Greece, and those who migrated to Chicago looking for work such as Eva Barnes from rural Illinois and Mrs. Thacker and her son, Danny from Kentucky. Terkel interviews urban dwellers that aim high (Lucy Jefferson and Judy Huff) and high school drop-outs who are just “keeping on” (Jimmy White and Lilly Lowell). Street-wise Kid Pharaoh offers insight on the nature of success and so does Benny Bearskin from his Native American perspective.

Also the Flint Sit-Down Strike:

And March on Washington Speeches (and more):

Planned Shrinkage and the Boogie Down Bronx

"Planned Shrinkage" - NYC municipal policy that led to the abandonment and decay of a city. For more info, check out:

(cited in Rosenthal's book)

"Roots, Ruins, Renewals: City Life After Urbicide" Village Voice, September 4th, 1984.

"A Synergism of Plagues: 'Planned Shrinkage' Contagious Housing Destruction and AIDS in the Bronx" Rodrick Wallace, Environmental Research 47.

Photo: Mel Rosenthal from In the South Bronx of America

Also, if anyone has any info on Roger Starr, NYC Administrator of Housing and Urban Development (1974-1976) and NYTimes Editorial Board (1977-92), he is rumored to be the intellectual terrorist behind planned shrinkage.


Monday, September 26, 2005

Filiberto Comandante, seguiremos adelante!

Filiberto Ojeda, general of Ejército Popular Boricua (Los Macheteros) was assassinated by FBI agents last Friday - one question we need to ask is why our government agents are murdering 72 year old political activists while we are in a national crisis in the south (and in the north)....

for more info see indymedia puertorico: